Regarding the Oct. 5 news article “UNC faculty has probing questions on athletics”: Policymaking is not the solution to UNC’s problems. Rather, the issue is culture.
UNC is the protagonist in a tragedy that it does not recognize. Tragedy starts with pride (“UNC is great, and I’m proud to be associated with it”) which breeds arrogance (“We’re UNC, we’re special”) which breeds entitlement (“Therefore, the normal rules don’t apply to us”). Policies and other rules don’t matter in the entitlement stage; they will be broken, when necessary, to achieve the glory and acclaim that reinforces and justifies the entitlement. Substitute “Enron” or “John Edwards” for “UNC” and the pattern becomes clear.
So, in the quest for football glory, UNC ignored its existing policies regarding academic eligibility. And only a culture of entitlement (apart from gross incompetence) can explain the decision to play with fire by hiring a football coach with known ties to sports agents.
Unfortunately, it is becoming clear that the kind of cathartic leadership needed to change UNC’s culture is not in Carol Folt’s repertoire. She appears to be all about listening, studying and policymaking. Tragedies don’t end well. Expect UNC’s agony to continue.
Jonathan Coburn, Holly Springs