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Bubba Cunningham Is One Strange Man

Sometimes it's better just not to say anything.

Jan 18, 2015; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams reacts with the officials as Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Buzz Williams is in the foreground in the first half at Dean E. Smith Center.
Jan 18, 2015; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams reacts with the officials as Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Buzz Williams is in the foreground in the first half at Dean E. Smith Center.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The last week or so has been a remarkable period in ACC history, with fans from all over the conference but especially the Triangle honoring the man we once loved to hate, Dean Smith.

We learned two things on the news tonight: first that the team will wear a patch with Smith's initials, DES, for the rest of the season, and second that Linnea Smith told Roy Williams that it was time for him to get back to coaching.

We have no doubt that this has been a rough week for Ol' Roy, who has repeatedly cited Smith as his friend, mentor and father figure.

And we're also pretty sure that Cameron will have a moment of silence before the UNC game for Smith, and there may be something for the three murdered students at UNC (the more we read about them, the worse it seems. They were from all accounts wonderful people).

All that said, there's a rivalry here that's getting a  little too cozy, and we're just doing our bit to stir things up some, though respectfully.

So as UNC comes to Cameron next week, we thought we'd pass on two things for your consideration.

First, here's a link from The Big Lead. It's a Roy Williams thing, but from Kansas, not UNC. Jason McIntyre is willing to stick his neck out here a bit and suggest that Williams helped DeShawn Stevenson raise his SAT scores by 700.

How might that have happened? Stevenson earned a 450 SAT at first which would have crippled his chances to play college ball anywhere.

He flew cross country to Raleigh for an All-Star game and took it again while he was here and subsequently scored an 1150.

Apparently Jerry Tarkanian found this pretty amusing, saying that "[s]omeone oughta tell Roy Williams that kid should forget basketball. That kid’s a Rhodes Scholar."

We're on record for calling Tark out for being a hypocrite, but no one ever said the man wasn't wickedly funny.

We mention it because there is a high school in Raleigh which was well known as a go-to place to raise your SATs. At about the same time there was a prominent ACC recruit who was struggling to get his score too. They both took the test in Raleigh, within a year or two of each other.

Stevenson's was disallowed while the other kid's stood. Both players played professionally.

Our understanding was that it was pretty easy to have someone take it for you here.

We're not sure if it is still happening because if we know about it then just about everyone must have. They've probably found a new place by now. Same scam though.

Secondly, not basketball-related but still grist for the rivalry mill: remember the locker room spray paint incident from football season? Here's the breakdown of what happened and how much it took to repair the damage: $ 27,000 dollars! That's astounding!

Football coach Larry Fedora and A.D. Bubba Cunningham split the cost and paid out of their own pockets, which was decent.

Apparently some people still aren't going to class because someone couldn't spell UNC, leaving off the last letter.

On the other hand, though, the guy came up with a brilliant slogan for post-scandal Carolina.

UNC: it's the un university.

Ol' Roy could put it on recruiting letters.

Bubba Cunningham wrote a letter to Duke A.D. by way of apology, and what an apology it is. Check this out. You can't make this up:

"While I may not understand the charges assessed, we take complete responsibility for our students and our programs. I failed in my leadership of this department that these damages could occur and we did not prevent it at the time or inform the appropriate people of the inappropriate actions of a few. There is no excuse for teams that have a mutual respect to damage a visiting locker room, but unfortunately we all have students, fans, staff that make mistakes on occasions."

Read that again and you may wonder if Bubba played football at UNC.

Translation: $27,000 dollars for spray paint by some idiot football players? Are you out of your mind?! And we've seen what you people do!

In a stiff penalty, the football team's $15 meal money was withheld for the State game and the team spent a day picking up trash.

We'd just point out at Duke, the team picked up trash before anyone got in trouble, not that anyone did. In fact, it probably helped them to stay out of it in the first place.

His apology included a non sequitur, that someone painted D-U-K-E on the South Building at UNC, but that UNC had made no comment and had paid the cost for cleaning it up.

Not saying anything is their call, but if you don't know who did it, who the hell is supposed to pay?

Cunningham went on to draw an inane equivalency: "I acknowledge that we have no idea who did this, but I simply included it to demonstrate that all fans, teams, coaches, students, etc., need to appreciate and respect the rivalry."

But our favorite part of this, uh, apology, was when Cunningham said this: "I called Coach Fedora and asked him to call Coach Cutcliffe, which he did and he left a very lengthy message. I have to admit I’m a bit disappointed that Coach Fedora’s call was never returned."

In the words of the immortal Steve Martin, "well, excuuuuuuuuuuuuse me!"

Or us.

Cunningham again tries to find a way to put Duke on the same level as UNC in this mess. We're guessing that White is too decent to point out to his UNC counterpart that Fedora had to be told to make the call.

All in all, it's the bitchiest apology we've seen since middle school.

On the bright side, we now know why people call him Bubba.