Thursday, November 3, 2011

Withers doesn't have a leg to stand on -- and O'Brien is understandably furious

Oh c'mon, Everett Withers. Really?

Withers, who is serving as North Carolina's interim head football coach, took some verbal shots at N.C. State Wednesday in a taped radio interview with Joe Ovies of Raleigh's 99.9 "The Fan."

N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien responded angrily to what Withers said today -- read on for some of those comments or listen to them here.

But first, the setup: Particularly, Withers questioned the "academic environment" at N.C. State, which is laughable considering the Tar Heels are the ones who fired their coach Butch Davis just before the 2011 season due to the fallout of an academic scandal. In fact, UNC is waiting right now to hear word from the NCAA as to what its punishment is going to be after an investigation into the football program.

Yet Withers said in the radio interview: "When you have as many schools in this state as we have, and the recruiting base gets watered down a bit, I think the kids in this state need to know the flagship school in this state. They need to know it academically. If you look at our graduation rates, as opposed to our opponent's this week [N.C. State], graduation rates for athletics, football, you'll see a difference.... If you look at the educational environment here, I think you'll see a difference."

Withers was apparently referring to the fact that, according to data provided by the NCAA for the freshman class of 2004, UNC's football team had a graduation success rate of 75 percent compared to 56 percent for N.C. State. UNC's federal graduation rate, which doesn't count transfers or players who left early, was at 58 percent compared to 50 percent for N.C. State.

All of which is well and good, but again.... UNC has been involved in an NCAA investigation that includes what the NCAA defined as academic fraud!! Jennifer Wiley, a former university tutor and once an employee of Davis's, was accused of three major violations herself! It was only last Friday that UNC officials had to go to Indianapolis for a hearing held by the NCAA's Committee on Infractions.

In other words, Withers doesn't have a leg to stand on in this argument. The Tar Heels have long claimed the academic high ground. But for now, because of the actions of a few, that claim has to be forfeited as far as the football program is concerned. N.C. State fans and players are likely incensed by these comments.

O'Brien certainly is. When asked about Withers' comments Thursday, O'Brien responded by referring to UNC officials’ trip to Indianapolis last Friday to appear in front of the Committee on Infractions to answer charges of nine major violations in an ongoing NCAA investigation of impermissible benefits and academic fraud

“Here is a guy that’s on a football staff that ends up in Indianapolis,” O’Brien said. “. . .If you take three things that you can’t do in college football, you have an agent on your staff. You’re paying your players. And you have academic fraud. That’s a triple play as far as the NCAA goes. So I don’t know that he has anything to talk about or they have anything to talk about. If that’s what people want in their flagship university in North Carolina, then so be it.”

After being asked what he meant by “paying your players,” O'Brien indicated that he was referring to the impermissible benefits players received.

“They had players accepting money from somebody,” O’Brien said. “I mean, money is being given from someone to somebody, that’s been documented, right? I don’t know how it got there. Maybe I’m wrong saying that. But those are no-nos as far as the NCAA goes.”

And there was one more shot from O'Brien, too.

“At our school, A number one, all classes have a syllabus,” O’Brien said. “Our guys go to school. They’re not given grades, and they graduate. It’s a little tougher here, if you have to go to school and you’re expected to have a syllabus and go to class. So I think all our guys earn everything they get here. Certainly our graduates earn everything at this university."

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

yea like he wasnt also in up to his neck on the whole scandal? please...

Anonymous said...

I agree that it is a poor time for Withers to make that comment in light of the issues at UNC. However, doesn't that cut both ways? Why are NC State fans so eager to point out UNC's academic issues in its football program when they have by far the lowest graduation rate in the ACC? Seems like they have just as many issues, and I think this was Withers' way of pointing that out.

WC LION 4 LIFE said...

I take exception to any negative comments about Everett's statements. If you anything about college athletics , you would realize that assistants are consumed with game planning and recruiting. it is impossible to track the whearabouts and activities of 120 young men on a campus that size and with so many students. Every school has scandal in some way or fashion ; it just doesn't always get exposed in the magnitude this one has. Knowing him personally , Everett should be commended for throwing himself onto a sword for the kids left to play this situation out. If you spent 5 minutes with him , you'd know instantly that he is a class act and has great morals and upstanding character. This is the reason he was named the interim coach.

In summation, N.C. State is a great university , but if the stats are as stated , his statement is correct and valid as such.

Anonymous said...

They both suck...

Mediocre teams, low grad rates, cheating, whining, boasting.

My pick is State, though...5 in a row.

WC LION 4 LIFE said...

By the way ( Scott Fowler ) , stop trying to beat out Tom Sorensen with your "shock value"-like editorials. Stick to your area - nobody is close to Tom when it comes to reporting Carolina -area sports. If he wrote this article , it might have carried a litte more merit , although I'd stand up for Everett any day !

Anonymous said...

I am so tired of the UNC-hate from the Observer. Robbi Pickeral left because of the editorial directive to "get UNC", and it's just tiresome. State had TA McClendon stay eligible for 3 seasons despite never attending a single class and no article was ever written on that subject.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:31 where is the proof on TA I hear Tar Heel fans bring that up a bunch but no proof.

As for the Anti-UNC spin oh well State fans dealt with it for years its good to see the shoe on the other foot.

NCSU has harder majors (not saying football players take the hard majors) Plus our Athletes aren't all majoring in Afro Studies.

Anonymous said...

I can personally debunk that TA nonsense. I had a class with TA. Boom.

I do want to thank Scott for pointing out the obvious - seriously. The hypocritical nature of bubba's comments is lost on many.

Anonymous said...

Anon(10:29),

Yeah, UNC is the only school that has "easy" classes/majors. No other schools in the country have classes that are filled with athletes loading up on easy grades (rollseyes).

And spare the "more difficult" majors stuff...we are talking about athletes. I imagine the vast majority of the athletes taking those "difficult majors" (which mind you UNC has plenty of difficult majors as well) are graduating since they are actually challenging themselves in the classroom instead of just trying to stay eligible.

The point is, NC State has academic issues of their own, but their fans for the past year have been constantly pointing out the issues at another place(which are much smaller in scale than the graduation rate of an entire program over a 4 year span).

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU, SCOTT for the stating the obvious that so many other ACC fans are laughing about after Wither's incredibly ill-timed comments comparing graduation rates between UNC and NC State. The audacity of bragging about graduation rates that include inflated grades, academic fraud and plagiarism ...heck...with all the well documented fraudulent assistance that UNC football players were receiving - their fans should be appalled they did not graduate 100% of their athletes. And could this report actually confirm that NC State is not cutting their athletes any slack and is holding them up to the high standards that all other students must meet = IF SO, THEN WAY TO GO PACK!!!! Don't just assume that the way you view statistical numbers indicate failure - they can also be a marker for what is going right at a university. Anyone can "google grade inflation at UNC" (for all students - not just athletes) - it is easy to post high graduation rates if you grade your students higher and distribute more A's and B's than any other universities in comparison. As stated earlier, there are many ways to interpret numbers - some of you need to take off those baby blue glasses and view UNC like the rest of the ACC does. Not everyone is gullible enough to believe that UNC belongs on their self-imposed pedestal.

Anonymous said...

As far as I know, NC State only has 1 player on their team(who sees the field) that majors in Engineering. Maybe they have more, but I can't find anyone else listing it on their website: www.gopack.com/sports/m-footbl...footbl-mtt.html

The only person on that list who claims to be an Engineering Major is Anthony Talbert. He is a backup TE and has seen action in 73 plays this year, mostly on special teams, and has zero receptions.

So please try to find a player with a "hard" major that State fans are so proud of.

State is a very good school, but the fact is that Carolina is also. Both school have majors that are friendlier to athletes and they will continue to have them. Even Duke has them, i.e. Sociology.

ScottHasLostIt said...

Oh look everybody, Scott is outraged. This tripe written by a guy so out of touch and so much in man love with Cam to call him a pro bowl deserving QB. Albeit one with two wins. Your articles are more meaningless than those of the 30 bars in 30 days girl.

Anonymous said...

Those ignoranmous who defend incomptence or fraud are lying or ignorant as hell. As far as tracking 120 players thats the job and if you cant handle it with proficiency then GET the hell OUT because you are an incompetent.
These coaches all know exactly whats going on. Dont be fooled.

Kind of like some "youthful indisgression" BS. Nobody buys that snake oil. That pig dont fly either.

If you are clean then come clean publically and let the people judge and decide. Thats the way the American system works.
Keeping quiet shows guilt and coverup.

Anonymous said...

UNC
#5 public
#29 overall

State
#46 public
#101 overall

3 athletes does not constitute "massive academic fraud". I wonder how people that call themselves "journalists" can continue to perpetuate that lie in face of the facts.

Anonymous said...

#5 of all public schools that cheat
#29 of all overall schools that cheat

I Know said...

It is not as if Scott has any credibility anyway. Let him cry and whine till he feels better or falls asleep. Poor baby.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:43. Looks like you've used US News' ratings. I don't dispute unc is a good school (despite widespread academic misconduct among athletes) and does usually rank higher than State, but those rankings are a joke. Look at what they use to compile the rankings...it's not factually based. There are other sources that will give you much more credence.

BillyFriday said...

No one could write a better script for this. Where was Old Ev when his boys were doing all of this? This isn't turning out to be a good working interview that would get the interim tag removed is it? Just wait until he plays the race card in December when Bubba brings his own FB coaching choice in. For someone that got a diploma from App State and sees firsthand how little some of his players put into scholastic achievment, only to also get a diploma is laughable. Thanks for showing others the Carolina Way.

Anonymous said...

Who cares about either football team, neither have meant anything on a national stage. For what's it worth knowing a lot of grads of both schools, UNC might have higher rankings but I would hire a NC State grad over a UNC grad anyday of the week, because I have yet to meet a UNC grad that had normal social skills and was not a tool.

Anonymous said...

Withers, why go there given the current state of UNC Football regarding the NCAA investigation. Why? Why not just say "it's been a life long dream of yours to coach at UNC and face the Pack for the chance to beat them on the field for the fans and students at Carolina" Do you need a press secretary?

Anonymous said...

The topic is cheating not how good UNC or NCSU programs are.

Why is Auburn and Newton getting off the hook but not UNC and its players? Florida did the right thing with him. Wheres the Auburn grades of Newton for Fall 2010 and Spring 2011?
Why pick only on UNC and its players but not Auburn and the #1 rookie pick who canived his way up? Did the NCAA check into Auburn and Newtons academic cheating like they have done UNC? Was somebody paid off in the NCAA?
Did Auburn fix grades too? Rhetorical question.

Anonymous said...

this is a good way for an interim coach to never become the head coach.....what a fool. carolina, with its football program in shambles, deserves better than this guy.

anyways, these teams are awful........how bout the lsu/bama game?

Anonymous said...

Withers was stating fact. UNC has a better academic reputation and graduation rates overall - for the general population of students, for student/athletes in general, and for the football team in particular. And I applaud him for talking about the importance of academics in recruiting his football players...not often that you hear a head coach reference a strong academic reputation as an asset in recruiting for a football team. And I'm ashamed for O'Brien thinking that a course syllabus is a symbol of academic propriety or achievement in some way.

Anonymous said...

Withers' brain is not connected to his mouth.If ANYONE SHOULD BE KEEPING HIS MOUTH SHUT and just be glad he has a job,IT'S WITHERS!Good article scott!!

Butch Davis said...

takes a supremely low intellect to make the case Withers is attempting

Anonymous said...

Please shut up Everett, it's embarrassing to us when you accuse others of bad academics at a time like this. Just go out Sat and win a big game.

Jason said...

I love when people comment anonymously acting like a fan of the Heels and then chastising their coach with words like, "us" and "we" (See Anon @ 3:22). Right.... we believe you're a Carolina fan.... Mmmhmmm....

Anonymous said...

Look people, these comments are predictable and obviously biased based on which side of the Triangle you cheer for. Spare us all and don't jabber unless you have something to ADD...

Anonymous said...

Does anybody with half a brain not think Newton cheated at Auburn and had his grades fixed so they could continue to win the NCAA title game even though teams like Bama were paid off to lose? This is kindergarten stuff.

Why in the hell then are they picking on the Tarheels so heavily? Is this a smoke and mirrors diversion since both of these went down and occured at the EXACT timing as the Auburn Newton much bigger wider scandal? No player from UNC got 200,000 pimp pay did they?

Was UNC used as the guinea pig to take the heat off Auburn?

Something does not add up. Auburn and Newton were let off the hook 100% by the NCAA. Can you believe that? NCAA cleared Auburn and Newton but still screwing UNCCH.

This one seriously stinks to high heaven, Carolina blue heaven to make it specific.

Anonymous said...

no easy classes at state? What is turf management? Last time I checked you can go to lowe's for that, but lowes isnt giving out degrees.

Anonymous said...

what the UNC guys should have done is beat and rob an elderly bus driver... that doesn't even warrant a one game suspension at NCSU

Anonymous said...

Withers was wrong to bring up NC State's academic deficiencies. However it is no big secret that Chapel Hill has by far the superior academic standing. Don't take my word for it, check US News rankings.

Anonymous said...

Only unc-cheat fans could still boast about being academically superior in the middle of a scandal like this. Did you bozos ever consider that your inflated grad rates are the direct result of CHEATING, across the board? Of course not, you guys have never admitted to any wrongdoing, which is part of the problem. Always someone else to blame. LOL

Anonymous said...

if your classes don't have a syllabus, your players don't attend class (despite parking wherever the h*ll they choose), tutors are writing your papers, and cash is flowing...why are you only graduating 75%?? Withers should be DISAPPOINTED in that graduation rate, not proud!

How stupid do you have to be to not graduate when the school is trying to GIVE you your diploma??

Anonymous said...

I posted this several days ago in response to another article. At UNC, the athletes are given the questions and answers the class period before a test. Still, some can't make above a C. Academic integrity doesn't exist in UNC athletics. I'm sure 90% schools are just as lenient.

Anonymous said...

NCSU v. UNC-CH playing each other in football is akin to the South Park "cripple fight" episode...

http://web1.ncaa.org/maps/aprRelease.jsp

Search for yourself, but Duke, Wake and App State have much higher APR's and graduation rates.

Anonymous said...

The irony of the situation that leaves sports writers like Fowler without credibitlity who makes the news 90% of the time instead of reporting it with his non-stop hype of some scam artist cheat felon liar thief pay for play worst ever Qb that no other NFL teams would touch with a 10 foot pole.

How can anybody trust a writer who plays both sides of the fence at the same time?

Fowler and others appear to be against academic cheating for athletes but in the same breath praise the worse cheat ever who has never come clean about anything with his incredulous cheating lies pay for play etc.

Th question still remains unanswered about how Newton and Auburn not to mention HC Gene Chezik are fully cleared in college footballs #1 sham scam ever and come away with a Heisman and NCAA title? Laughable.

Something bad wrong there.

If Auburn will pay 200k to pimp Newton for one season where noone even knows if he even went to a single class as that is confidential, then why would they not pay off the NCAA or Heisman committee or other teams?

YET there is a very odd coincidence that UNC Tarheels are completely destroyed by the NCAA in the state where Newton was just picked #1 after a scandal that would dwarf the Tarheels alleged cheating who didnt win a Heisman and didnt win a NCAA title. Not even close.

Wake up. Stop dissing your team and school. That is part of the overall scam all the while incredibly making a scammer the greatest thing since sliced bread ( with unon help and a few TEs plus Smith making an effort for a change )

Fowler and the rest have been duped and conned to the max. You people are fucking idiots and ignorant as hell not to mention naive and gullible.

These con artists are using YOU and your Panthers your media and everything else like their own personal French whore and laughing like hell all the way to the bank and refuse to talk or come clean. BJ deja vu.

Force the NCAA and Heisman and SEC to be investigated on this Auburn Newton matter. Something smells like a dead rat in Denmark. Stop being someones stool pigeon.

Carolina Blue sins were not that bad at all and didnt deserve all the plus loss of their coach but they were used to coverup and take the fall for the real culprits and criminals.
Let the punishment fit the crime.

Stop aiding and abetting the guilty ones using you. You are your own worst enemy. Bait and switch entrapment and you fell for it hook line and sinker.

Erase it all. Its a con and a fix. Give Butch Davis back his HC job and Withers goes back to DC and the players come back to play. Right the wrong and wise up. Davis is top notch. Fire Thorp.

Dummies.

Anonymous said...

The majority of State grads that I know tried to get into Chapel Hill but were not accepted. I manage 200+ employees and would scrutinize State grads much closer than UNC grads during a hiring process due to the academic differences of the two universities.

Anonymous said...

Observation: A lot of dumb butts with a bone to stick, tried to make this a discussion about Cam Newton. Get over it, we love Cam. Now back to the subject matter, O'Brien needs to get some thicker skin, although he is probably still trying to recover from his bonehead decision to let his best QB go to Wisconsin. I'm glad to see that Withers has backbone. He obviously doesn't feel like he's a slave to his job. He accomplished his intended purpose of getting people fired up about the UNC/State game. We can call that genius.

Anonymous said...

That dumbbutt runt weak loser "observation" shows inferior low IQ and laughble. rofflmfao

Losers always do what they do best and that is lose after spouting their loser trash looking ignorant and stupid.

And for those Scam groupies in denial your hero is a big loser too. Newtons law has kicked in and its payback time. You dont get away with anything. Bad karma. What goes around ...

Teach your kids to work hard and dont cheat lie steal or scheme.

Anonymous said...

Withers is a lucky victim of circumstance but proves he is incompetent to be considered plus knew as much or more than Davis and the rest. Hire a real coach. Noone knows what an interim coach is.

Urban Meyer is the top prospect and available but Thorp is incompetent and would have to be fired before Meyer would even consider the job.