14 Comments


  1. Marcia,

    Beautiful post–insightful as always. The wisdom of acceptance, us realizing that God’s plan is perfect, even when there’s weeping and gnashing of teeth, is something I wish and hope to have the courage to do. When you sustain a huge loss such as you, John, and the players have, you have many choices, and I commend you and John for making the brave choice. You’re making meaning out of this, you’re doing the hard thing, and you seek integrity in a situation where people have valued image over truth. But the truth always outs, as much as we try to hide it, and so does courage among those who know what they have to do to sleep at night. Keep up the fight! And thank you for fighting!

    Lyn

    Reply
    1. Marcia

      Thank you for the encouragement, Lyn. So many lives have been altered. I feel especially for the players, like Devon Ramsay and Deunta Williams, who are living into what this all means so early on in their lives. I surely wish we could find our way through these issues in the future without costing young promising men like Devon and Deunta so very much. If humanity can get better from all this–I pray they are able to enjoy in that redemption the most!
      Peace,
      Marcia

      Reply
  2. Frank Tew

    Thank you for Audibles. Now I learn that you were a Cross Country Runner and one of the finalists for NCAA Woman of the Year in 1991.

    Life has surprises for us each day. You have helped so many of us enjoy the good and deal with the not so good. You and John have my deepest respect.

    Reply
    1. Marcia

      Thank you, Frank. Yes, I spent many years of my life running Cross Country and Track. I was on some great teams in high school and college and my coaches are still some of the dearest people in the world to me. I use to want to be a coach myself because of how positive my experiences were.
      You, too, have helped me to enjoy the good and deal with the not so good. God’s Spirit has been generous! Thank you for all the ways you support and affirm us.
      Peace,
      Marcia

      Reply

  3. The most interesting piint and it is one many of us are in is that your husband after losing his job feels he can speak out more. We need more of our coaches who are able to speak out to do so. that did not apply to Coach Shoop as an OC at UNC, but people like Nick Saban, Frank Beamer and even Butch Davis who are financially set from coaching, have the backing where they would not be fired for speaking out could make more of difference if they chose.

    The University of North Carolina had a man like that who in my mind is the greatest ever. Coach dean Smith was advocate for what was right so he won both on and off the court. His views were not always accepted, but the respect he had made people listen.

    thank you for the series.

    Reply
    1. Marcia

      You are so right, Matt. Coach Dean Smith was a great model for standing up for what was right even when it wasn’t always what others wanted him to do. He used his position and his platform for some good work on and off the court. And you are also right that coaches generally do not feel the room around them to take those kinds of professional risks. The constant fear of being fired and the unbelievable pressure that they are under exacerbate the problems that we are facing in big time college sports. Very few coaches have been vocal about the problems of the NCAA and universities. And generally the ones who have (Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban) tend to be in positions where some argue that they have pretty dependable job security. Sometimes in life, however, we come to a crossroads and we are called to make a choice for a larger good than our own personal gain. As people of faith, John and I pray that we can meet the challenges of making such a choice. Thank you so much for reading and for commenting.
      Peace,
      Marcia

      Reply

      1. You are correct in there are few coaches with that type job security, but also where are the Presidents? For Presidents who are whining about Academics being put on the back end why are they agreeing to join conferences halfway across America? It is a very hypocritical business.

        Reply
        1. Marcia

          Another good point, Matt. When New York Times reporter Joe Nocera was here he said in his public address that the real villains of this situation with big time football and basketball and the NCAA are the college Presidents. At some point, our institutions of higher learning do need to step up to the plate and come up with more creative and equitable solutions to problems. And the reorganizing of conferences is one sign that others are going to step into that gap and make things work for them. There is a lot at stake so I am praying for more collaborative and collective decision making than we see happening these days. Thanks again, Matt, for your great comments and observations. I hope you will keep reading.
          Peace,
          Marcia

          Reply

          1. You are right in that assessment, but i think an issue that no one wants to touch is the success of student athletes who come to college already at risk of not graduating. When freshmen were not eligible it gave kids a chance to adapt to being away from home, but also whether or not they could perform academically. If presidents want higher graduation rates then either make them immediately ineligible to play, or if a students incoming grades/SAT scores are not to a certain level then they could sit out the first year. As a middle school coach we had requirements for attendance and grades that made a kid eligible. They were tougher than the state rules, but we had very few to not meet that requirement. However making sure kids were in class would require professors to track that and they will probably fuss over it saying it is the students responsibility. That is true, but they are in an institution of learning, and the ultimate goal should be student success.

          2. Marcia

            Thanks again, Matt, for making some important points. The irony of all this is that SAT scores, GPAs and Graduation Rates were increasing during Coach Davis’ tenure. I know John (Coach Shoop) made attention to players getting to class and how they were doing in the classroom a top priority. These commitments and practices of the former coaching staff makes it even harder to accept that they were dismissed.
            Your point about Freshmen not being eligible is an interesting one. Back when that was the rule there were unlimited scholarships so teams could field a full team even without freshmen. Under the current system of limited scholarships it would not be possible to play with no freshmen. Many first year players come at mid year and do get themselves settled into college life and the course load for spring and summer semester before their first football season revs up in the fall. That jump on things helps a great deal.
            Thanks again for reading and for the good conversation!
            Peace,
            Marcia


          3. I will have to respectfully disagree about not being able to field a team. The FCS schools only are allowed 65 scholarships and they have no problem fielding teams. That being said I am more in favor of student athletes who come in with a better academic resume being allowed to play right away than ones who may need extra help. With the demands on student athletes with class, practice time and studying it can overwhelm a freshman. Perhaps too a school who has a successful graduation rate could play more Freshmen than others. Nothing concrete just suggestions.

            I do not doubt the prior staff made a commitment to having great student athletes. it is a shame what a few athletes did along with Coach Blake that disrupted so many lives. However that is another post for another conversation.

            The NCAA rule book amongst other things needs complete overhaul before anything can improve. In my opinion how cooperative the university was more hurtful to innocent kids than anything. The SEC seems to rewarded for not working with the NCAA and perhaps that is a misguided statement, but perception in many cases is reality.

          4. Marcia

            More good points, Matt! Just remember that for FCS teams they are at a little bit different level of competition. They can probably do a bit more with walk ons, etc. than a Division IA school. Regardless, I think blanket rules tend to not work too well. A blanket rule about all freshmen not being eligible ignores the fact that everyone is different. Universities can do a better job of providing support for students who need extra assistance and football staffs can continue to gauge who is ready (on all counts) and who is not ready to play.
            I agree about the NCAA rule book. And yes, UNC’s blind cooperation was extremely hurtful. Thanks again, Matt!
            Peace,
            Marcia


      2. FCS school are at a different competition level I agree, and I am not for blanket rules. i believe there should be rules that support a student athlete. Many programs really do not care about preparing these young men for life after college. That is not everywhere, but it is a perception. With as few a players that do make it to the NFL their academic success should take precedent over on field performance, but the high pressure coaches face to win a true monster has been created.

        When the scholarship numbers went 85 the parity in college football went up. Prior to that schools over recruited players just so they did not have to compete with them. Bear Bryant was one of the biggest culprits in this practice at Alabama.

        Hypocrisy is rampant throughout sports not just at the higher levels.

        Reply
        1. Marcia

          You are right, Matt. I would say hypocrisy is rampant in human life in general!
          Universities should hold the athletes in their schools with the same care and nurture that they hold all students. Their success in the classroom and in life should be what universities are all about. I do believe the money in big time college football and college basketball have made players into commodities. Universities can treat them more like property than like students. That is a disturbing and demeaning pattern. We’ll never get to a place where real change is possible until universities come clean about this conflict that exists at the very core of their mission to educate and nurture ALL of the students that populate their campuses.
          Peace,
          Marcia

          Reply

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