In February 2010, over two years ago, Marvin Austin began tweeting lustful images of lesbian clubs and cupcakes that gave the NC State community plenty to talk about. How was he getting the funds to take such trips and buy such gifts? Fast-forward to July. ESPN has now picked-up the story that the NCAA is snooping around campus. Fast-forward yet again to August 2010. News breaks that academics are involved in the UNC sludge surrounding the football team. Since August 2010, Carolina’s only attempts at addressing any of the allegations made against them, openly, have come from evasive press statements and a somewhat-adequate NCAA-mandated responses to their Notice of Allegations (NoA). Aside from that, Carolina has maintained a low public profile and done an effective job of admitting to as little guilt as possible, including refusing to push on Butch Davis’ release of “the 216″ phone records. (More on that in a moment…)
I have to admit… it’s impressive.
That was just under 2 years ago. Since that point, the ACC has taken no action against UNC aside from releasing a public repremand of their actions, and that repremand didn’t even exist under 3 months ago. The NCAA handed down their sanctions a month prior to that which amounted to a 2 year bowl ban and 15 scholarship reductions. It also cost the university a total of nearly $500,000 in legal fees since hiring legal counsel in October of 2010. (This is in addition to the self-imposed fine of $50,000.)
Since then, we’ve heard the published results of a 9-month study into UNC’s African American Studies department, which resulted in the departures of several academic staff. Other than the publishing of a report with no impact on Carolina athletics, all the public has heard about has been a series of BOGSAATs.
WHAT IS THE BOGSAAT?
BOGSAAT stands for “Bunch Of Guys Sitting Around A Table”. It is the mascot of bureaucracy and the champion of non-movement. It is also a fitting mental image for what is going on in Chapel Hill. It took 2 years… two whole fucking years… from the first time people started murmuring about wrong-doing in Chapel Hill until the moment that (a) the NCAA handed down penalties, (b) the ACC released anything resembling an opinion on the matter, and (c) before reports became bored enough after March Madness to actually start asking where the 216 records are.
So what has actually occurred is the UNC Board of Governors sitting around talking about UNC’s African American Studies program, which was uncovered as an academic prong of the scandal in summer of 2011. What happened as a result? Nothing. They sat around and talked for a while and did nothing, not even bothering to take the incident seriously until the actual NCAA scandal had passed.
But wait! UNC appears to be forming their own BOGSAAT to get to the middle of things! In 2010, a coalition of professors got together to urge the university to take a more active, and transparent, role during the investigation. Last Friday is the first time Chancellor Thorp got any organization of professors together to discuss the matter.
“A few people believe that there is not place at this university for intercollegiate athletics. I don’t believe that that’s a viable option. There is a place and at Carolina we have to find the right balance. That’s going to be hard,” said Thorp.
Thorp told panel members he would welcome any additional reviews that they recommend.
Welcoming recommendations and taking action are two different matters. Taking action isn’t waiting until the trail is several years cold. Taking action isn’t refusing to comply with requests for information from the press and NCAA investigators. Taking action isn’t sitting around while a statistically significant portion of your athletic department rapes any resemblance of a compliance code then takes the field. When Thorp says he welcomes recommendations, the question is whether UNC will do anything with said “recommendations”. If UNC’s BOGSAAT is anything like the UNC School System’s (and any other BOGSAAT in the corporate and government world) then the UNC faculties’ recommendations will sit around for discussion until it’s a non-issue.
That brings us to the 216 records.
WHY THE BOGSAAT MAKES THE 216 DEBATE A NON-ISSUE
Recently, another NC State blog posted an article regarding why Butch Davis and his attorney are destined to lose the battle for their 216 phone records. (Lots of information on the matter can be found on their blog if you aren’t up-to-speed on the issue.) The hope is that if we have the 216 records, we can link Butch Davis, directly, to improper acts. Hypothetically, since Butch Davis was never mentioned in the NoA, linking the head coach to the program could somehow prove that UNC was dirtier than they seemed. (Understand this is an approximate and over-simplified view of what the 216 records could do.)
There is on glaring problem with this aggressive push for the 216 records by the blogosphere and media, alike. Hypothetically, let’s say we get the records. Then what? What happens when we have proof in front of God, the public, and everyone in between that Butch Davis was a horrible person and did bad things while occupying a position as UNC’s head football coach?
Well, of course some competent organization will meet to discuss…….. oh shit, it’s another BOGSAAT.
The fact of the matter is that the powers-that-be have shown that the greatest level of progress they can make towards bringing UNC to justice is sitting around and talking about it. (Why this is still a shock to a blogosphere so consumed with their own influence is beyond me.) UNC has always been dirty. It’s their identity. They didn’t get to where they are today by having active organizations watch-dogging their every move. If we get the 216 records, I would bet a steak dinner on it amounting to more round-table discussions with little-to-no action. Remember, a 9-month study into the African American Studies department concluded that 59 student, in 9 courses, were caught receiving grades they didn’t earn, including several athletes. That study, which provided hard proof of athletes not earning grades, produced no reprecussions on the athletic department. At the end of the day, it would appear the 216 records will become another news story that a BOGSAAT will get together and discuss with no action taken.
This brings NC State fans to one final question…
WHERE DOES “INVESTIGATING THE TRUTH” BECOME COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE
I was as pissed off at Lee Fowler as anyone when he referred to some in our fanbase as the “lunatic fringe”, but what happens when he’s actually *gulp* right? If NC State and it’s media-underground can do something to sink the [flag]ship, or at least cripple it, then I think we have an obligation to do so. After all, we are the literary foil to UNC’s perpetual shit. That being said, when shit-talking for the sake of shit-talking turns into a “grassy knoll” or “birth certificate” type conspiracy, it’s time to step back from the forum for a second, go outside and breath some fresh air, and re-evaluate what we are trying to do and the benefit of our investigative labors.
What we don’t want to do is create an NC State “birther” group that is spending more time focusing on the obvious; obvious in this case being how horrible of a place Carolina is. At this point in time Carolina’s reputation has been damaged significantly and their athletic program has seen more turmoil than anyone can recall in their lives. If you want to hang the “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” banner, that might be appropriate. What you don’t want to do is keep clinging to the remnants of a banner that isn’t going to amount to much.
The bottom line is this: will releasing the 216 records spurn actual change and further punishment for UNC? If so, then go for it. If it’s just digging up more shit on Carolina for the sake of digging up shit on Carolina, maybe it’s time we ease off the throttle before we prove a nasty stereotype correct. I hate Carolina as much (or more) than the next guy, but the affects of the BOGSAAT are strong on the disciplinary process and their ability to do nothing is well documented. If the 216 records are going to fall into the hands of another BOGSAAT, then keeping up with the headlines may not be worth the effort.