Thursday, September 23, 2010

UNC's Thorp misses the point on importance of facilities

North Carolina chancellor Holden Thorp had an excellent column in Thursday's News & Observer that addresses the football situation. In that, he defends athletics director Dick Baddour and the school's investigation into what happened with the players.

But Thorp made an assertion that is worth addressing. He wrote, "Better facilities will give us the ability to attract even better recruits who can succeed both in the classroom and on the field."

In fact, the evidence in the Triangle shows just the opposite - better facilities do not lead directly to success on the field. UNC itself is a perfect example - the Kenan Football Center opened in 1997, but UNC's football fortunes collapsed when Mack Brown left for Texas after that season. That facility, especially at the time, was astonishing, but Carolina still couldn't win.

N.C. State has made multiple upgrades to Carter-Finley Stadium, all fueled by the promise of ever-improving records, and the Wolfpack has been rewarded with four straight losing seasons for the first time since the 1950s.

Duke moved into the swank Yoh Football Center in  2002 - and the Devils still haven't won. The bottom line is quality coaches - especially quality assistant coaches - are more significant than facilities.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. Another example is the RBC Center. It is clearly superior and more impressive than Reynolds, but you can name the number of players that were as good or better than Chucky Brown, for instance, on one hand since moving to the arena. (The RBC center does make MY life better!)

    I think facilities do play a role, though. It is the _promise_ of better facilities that excites fans and players and perhaps has an effect at better recruiting.

    If impressive stadiums/arenas meant anything, then Tennessee, Georgia, and Michigan would be in the football National Championship hunt every year and Maryland would be in the Final Four every year.