First we had Caulton Tudor at the N&O and Dane Huffman at WRAL expressing their righteous indignation for the decision to raise Butch Davis’ salary to curb of any enthusiastic offers from other schools. Now, a full week later, N&O staff writer Jim Jenkins decides to offer his asinine thoughts on the matter. Based on his viewpoint and the ones reflect by others in the media allow me to make the follow suggestion.
Since what UNC has done is so alarming and undoubtedly spells the end of Western academia as we know it, I would like the N&O to be courageous in the conviction of two of it’s writers and cease all coverage of UNC sports effective immediately. If UNC’s descent into big time athletics is so horrid then please feel free to shut down your coverage of the teams as a protest and shift those resources to covering the academic side in Chapel Hill. I am quite certain J.P. Giglio would love to spend his evenings at poetry readings or art shows versus taking in the latest UNC-Duke affair. And I am anxious to read Caulton Tudor dissemble at length on who UNC will hire to head the English department or hear him argue that the dean of the medical school has simply not lived up to expectations and should be fired. And once you have made this transition feel free to report on how much circulation and advertising money the newspaper loses because you have decided to follow the stalwart principles set forth by your writers and boycott the evil of big business college sports.
I find it utterly amusing that the N&O would complain about UNC spending money to improve the football program when the newspaper itself will directly benefit from the success of that program. I also find it laughable that college educated writers employed at major newspapers are so blindingly unaware of the basic principles of economics. If Butch Davis manages to elevate UNC to be a top tier football team then the raise they gave him will be more than paid for over the course of time. Aside from that the university not only benefits from the increased influx of revenue but also from increased exposure which aids the school in terms of admissions. And if the prominence of the athletic teams was not important then UNC would not also spend money to run commercials for the school during nationally televised games. William Friday and the like can whine all they want about $291,000 being enough to hire two more professors, the last I checked professors, aside from those in research that bring grants in, do not generate millions of dollars in revenue for the university. They also do not create exposure for the university to millions of people who watch college athletics week in and week out. If they did then my above tongue and cheek suggestion to the N&O would be reality.
This is soapbox hand wringing done for the express purpose of creating a controversial viewpoint in an effort to sell papers. As I said previously, UNC could do nothing right here. If they give Davis a raise to keep him, they are wrong. If they do nothing and he leaves, they would be criticized for not doing being serious about football. College athletics has become huge business but I do not see any effort on the part universities or the media outlets to step away from the money it brings in. Short of that, any complaints coming from anyone associated with either party is astoundingly hollow.