Friday, July 15, 2011

Spill the Beans Marvin!

I hope Marvin Austin spills the beans. The former UNC football standout and second-round pick of the New York Giants has threatened to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth after a judge denied Michael McAdoo the right to play football at UNC.

“I’m so heated right now…justice will prevail…even if I have to spill the beans,” Austin wrote on his Twitter account, @anchormanaustin, the night of Judge Orlando Hudson ruling. The Durham Superior Court Judge denied McAdoo’s request for an injunction against the NCAA and UNC that would have restored his eligibility.

McAdoo, a defensive end who played two years for the Tar Heels, was declared permanently ineligible by the NCAA after an investigation that uncovered academic fraud and the receipt of improper benefits among players. Austin was one of the players connected to the scandal that may have cost the team serious contention for a national championship. A record nine players were drafted in Aprils NFL draft, which tied for most draftees among one school. Many of those players were declared ineligible to play during the season that had fans drooling.

Austin claims McAdoo was “misled, misused and ostracized from the program,” and described administrators at UNC as “cowardly.” I would love to see Austin make those same comments as a witness. Who better to talk about the whirlwind of events that wrecked a promising season for the Tar Heels?

It was Austin’s comments on Twitter that began that rollercoaster ride that continues to cast a shadow over the UNC football program. In June, the NCAA delivered a 42-page Notice of Allegations to Chancellor Holden Thorp that offered nine major violations, including six related to former assistant coach John Blake or Jennifer Wiley, the tutor responsible for getting McAdoo in trouble with the NCAA.

“Same reasons that others got suspended and are able to play for because I know exactly the details in each case and its no way that this young…Man should have his dream snatched from him like the NCAA has done,” he writes. “I can tell you so many stories that would be mind boggling in comparison.” Say more Marvin. Spill those beans!

I wish he would tell the truth, on stand, about the leadership at UNC. He comes close to opening that can. “I wish the administration stood…And stop the cowardly acts when they are in front of the NCAA and tell them what you told us,” I wonder what Austin and other players were told. I wonder if we will ever get a chance to hear what athletes are told when schools are under the haunting glare of NCAA investigators. Hmm, I marvel at the possibilities.

Judge Hudson’s ruling means McAdoo, who would have started this coming season, cannot play at any NCAA level. He has been stripped of his right to play, and, ultimately, deprived his right to prove his merit as a future NFL draftee. The good news is Robert Orr, a former North Carolina Supreme Court judge, and Durham attorney Noah H. Huffstetler have just begun their fight against the NCAA and UNC. This one could go all the way to the US Supreme Court.

In the meantime, McAdoo can’t play which exposes the gross hypocrisy surrounding the way the NCAA rules the lives of college athletes. The lack of due process and consistent decisions renders the NCAA a laughingstock among those who believe in the American judicial process.

Putting Austin and other athletes on the witness stand may be what’s needed to restore standing to the NCAA sanctioning body. The way the NCAA ruled in the McAdoo case can best be described with the image of putting his name in a hat. The NCAA just grabbed the sentence du jour. They destroyed the life of a young man who made a bad mistake and confessed his role in what appears to be an issue within the administration. Put another way, McAdoo played by the rules given him as an athlete while the university uses him as the goat to be slaughtered.

Spill the beans Marvin. While you’re at it, get some other players to step forward with their can of beans.

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