July 19, 2005
I recently have read of minor NCAA violations committed at Kansas during the tenure of coach Roy Williams, who is preparing for his third season with reigning national champion North Carolina.
Give me a break.
Based on the headlines, you would have thought Williams committed major infractions for years and years. But he's a man of integrity who made an honest and minor mistake.
With all the cheating going on in college athletics, let's spend time going after the schools giving out cars, laying cash on player representatives and gaining unfair advantages in the world of recruiting. That is the real cheating, baby!
Williams is guilty of one thing: miscommunication. I don't believe he gained any edge by approving gifts for players who had graduated or completed their eligibility. The value of each gift was below $400, the school said.
One can understand the NCAA being concerned. Imagine if a coach promised a player a major payoff after he graduated! That would provide the wrong incentive to attend a school, and it would be a major recruiting violation. Certainly, this case is a far cry from that scenario.
I believe Williams is clean, and the publicity surrounding this situation makes me wonder: Was there some envy over the coach winning the national championship so early in his North Carolina career? Williams is a man of great integrity.
The bottom line is, he made a mistake giving those gifts to outgoing players at Kansas. But he did not cheat, and he is a winner on and off the court.
College basketball needs more coaches like Roy Williams. He is one of the good guys in the coaching fraternity. And, as this situation shows, he is also human.
Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question to Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.