If you follow my Twitter feed then you likely know how I feel about the North Carolina Tar Heels. Growing up in Winston-Salem, while attending public school as a Wake Forest fan conditioned me to despise the Goats with every single fiber of my being.
The Final Four matchup featuring Dana Altman of Oregon (a coach who should have been fired after his despicable handling of a sexual assault case earlier this decade), and Roy Williams’ North Carolina Tar Heels (currently embroiled in one of the longest NCAA scandals in history), was everything wrong with collegiate athletics.
Many people have asked me over the years why I have such a great disdain for North Carolina. Is it the bandwagon fans, the elitist (and now we know fictional) “Carolina Way”, the lack of basketball knowledge amongst almost all of their Wal-Mart fans, or something else?
The answer is “E. All of the above”.
Morning after morning throughout elementary, middle, and high school, “fans” of North Carolina would gloat about how “THEIR HEELS” won another basketball game the night before, usually after I provided them with an answer as to who they were playing and that UNC did, in fact, win the basketball game.
The superiority complex that is held by a lot of their fans is grating to the core. The hilarious notion that each North Carolina fan seems to possess is that their beloved Tar Heels have found the secret formula to mesh elite academics with elite athletics over an extended period of time, while no other school has managed to do so.
As the NCAA has continued to show over the past 5+ years, this is clearly not the case. The “Carolina Way” has been revealed to not quite the amazing mash-up of superior academics and athletics, but actually quite the opposite.
The REAL “Carolina Way” means fake classes, tutors writing papers for athletes, “student”-athletes not attending classes, a completely made up major (AFAM), massive widespread corruption permeating nearly every single office of Athletic and Academic administration, and last, but not least, the steadfast devotion from nearly every single fan that all of this is a conspiracy theory and wild goose chase against THE FLAGSHIP University in the state of North Carolina.
Of course I realize that a lot of my hatred for North Carolina stems from their success, particularly on the basketball court, but it runs much, much deeper than that to me. I know a lot of people who have graduated from North Carolina, and despise how these investigations are reflecting on the University.
Anybody that has attended, and graduated from UNC knows that a diploma from that school goes a long way in the real world. When the value of the diploma is denigrated, and make no mistake, it has taken quite a beating over the past few years, that irritates the alums who worked their asses off to get that degree.
It’s hypocrisy and condescension that I hate the most from Carolina fans who either didn’t attend the school, or just don’t care about how these allegations reflect upon the school. I don’t care if you pull for a team if you didn’t attend the school, but what I do dislike is HOW an overwhelming majority of these bandwagon fans choose to pull for the school. Brash, unbridled, and ignorant support of North Carolina, with no regards whatsoever to what these NCAA allegations of infractions mean to people who did graduate from the school.
No, when North Carolina takes the floor with their vomit-inducing powder blue and argyle uniforms tonight, I will not be “pulling for the ACC”, or “pulling for UNC, because we would pull for Wake if they ever made the Final Four” (followed by a chuckle of condescension).
I will be pulling as hard as I can for the Mark Few-led Gonzaga Bulldogs. The Zags are David to North Carolina’s Goliath in name only, as this team has more than enough firepower to defeat the MIGHTY Tar Heels tonight.
This will hopefully be another example of good defeating evil, and showing that teams can still win the right way, sans academic cheating, condescension of the highest level, and a “Way” that has led to Lack of Institutional Control slapped on their NCAA papers.
Gonzaga has built their brand from the ground up over the last 20 years. A small Jesuit school from Spokane, Washington that has just over 7K undergrads (sound familiar?) has managed to become a household name and compete with the “big boys”. Tonight they will play for their first National Championship, and will do so with hundreds of thousands of fans across America cheering for them.