New York Daily News sports columnist Mike Lupica was in the Triangle on Tuesday to promote his latest book True Legend a novel about the life and experiences of a high school superstar basketball player.
Lupica took time during his visit to the News & Observer to do a question/answer session with Caulton Tudor:
Q: Will North Carolina one day get a major league baseball franchise?
It should, thats obvious. I would hope they would look at the success of the (Carolina Panthers) and see the possibilities
Imagine if you took the Oakland As and moved them to this state and you get a real owner to go with this passionate sports fan base here and all of a sudden the owner doesnt have to work with a $55 million payroll.
There are very few places left in the country that are fertile for major league baseball. Very few. But I cant imagine anywhere having the edge on North Carolina. Everything here is already in place weather, great baseball tradition, a sports-loving population. It makes perfect sense.
Q: Do you think Seattles Russell Wilson will be successful in the NFL?
Oh my gosh, do I ever hope so.
My favorite player of all time is Doug Flutie of Boston College. I believe if he could have ever gotten with the right coach who looked at the things he could do and didnt obsess with the things he couldnt do then he could have had a career south of the border of Canada like the career he did have in Canada.
Now (Wilson) isnt as small as Flutie, but hes small. But the great thing here is that his size hasnt in any way kept Pete Carroll from seeing the possibilities. And the Seahawks spent a boat load of money on Matt Flynn, so that tells you how much they like Wilson.
Q: Has UNCs image been damaged on a national scale?
Oh yes, the image has been hurt. Its just a matter of how much damage has been done and we may not know that for a while.
You know, this reminds me of how Arthur Ashe once described John McEnroes tennis game: A nick here and nick there and pretty soon youre bleeding to death.
You take enough punches and pretty soon youre knocked out and you (may) even be knocked out standing. Im not saying this will sink North Carolina. Im not saying itll cease to be a great college. But at some point you have to say enough, enough because its hurting your school brand, not just your athletic brand.
I thought the football stuff was pretty damning, but the academics stuff is a lot more serious.
No one ever thought they would see UNC in this sort of situation. But no one ever thought theyd see Penn State in such a mess.
Q: What do you think college sports will be like 10 years from now?
Thats one of the great, great questions in all of sports anywhere these days
Eventually, college sports will have to change and have to find a way to pay the athletes for their time because college sports is bigger than its ever been. Its bigger than anyone could have possibly ever guessed just 10 or 15 years ago. ESPN and television have just expanded the visibility of college football and basketball so much that its hard to comprehend. And theres no reason to think it wont keep growing maybe growing a little slower but still growing in popularity and TV markets.
One thing that has to happen and I dont know how or who will do this but the NCAA simply has to find a way to get control over football. The BCS cant run college football in the future. Its led to a rogue situation. Youve got this small group of people and schools in these powerful conferences that dictate everything up and down the line. Its just crazy.