Sports Illustrated senior writer S.L. Price, a 1983 UNC graduate and a Daily Tar Heel alum, wrote in a recent issue of the magazine that his views about college sports' "white hats" have changed.
In the Nov. 5 issue, Price contributed a five-page piece about Penn State a year after the revelations about former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky rocked that university. Price interviewed Russ Rose, the highly successful Penn State volleyball coach. Rose pointedly asked Price: "Did you take those classes when you were there (at UNC)? The ones that didn't exist?"
"It's a nasty swipe, and more than apt," Price wrote. "After all, North Carolina was, like Penn State, a school with overweening pride in its own rectitude." Price graduated nearly 30 years ago but Rose's point was that individuals, not a community, should be held to account.
Yet Price wrote that "attending a school that 'did it the right way' marked me more than I knew. The UNC ethos embodied by basketball coach Dean Smith had burrowed deep. I spent the last 30 years actually believing that big-time sports can be folded into an academic environment without warping it...Yes, college sports can be dirty, but places like Notre Dame, Duke and Stanford prove that white hats can thrive too." Price wrote that he no longer believes that. Even schools with the best intentions, he wrote, are unduly influenced by the money from big-time football and basketball.