Myles Brand Meets Mr Swagger

January17/ 2000

… Gather NCAA Poobah Myles Brand, The Meez, Prince Tassel Loafer, Little Johnny Swofford, His Eminence Bill Friday, a bunch of UNC coaches and staff, a handful of Fat Cats, some androgenous students, and some curious onlookers … then drop BobLee hisownself right in the middle of the whole kit and kaboddle.  That’s what happened Tuesday night over to UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School right next to The Lair of The Legend.  Have I got your attention?

    NCAA Czar Myles “I’m Not Afraid of Bobby Knight” Brand was in Chapel Hill on Tuesday to give out attaboys for UNC’s Leadership Academy.  His busy day included a seminar gathering with local PTBs, poobahs, honchos, and assorted “Franklin Street Marching & Chowder Society” as described above … and yours truly BL Swagger.

   It was an invitation only soiree so I had one of my deep-inside UNC moles arrange an invite.  I posed as an American Express casting director looking for new subjects for a commercial.  

   Arriving 15 minutes before the scheduled start, I grabbed a seat to the right of center (of course!) and about 10 rows up.  The Dickster was flitting about double-checking water pitchers and such.  Phineas T. Teague arrived in his usual “White Rabbit running late for The Mad Hatter’s tea party” style.  Glad handing his way across the room he ran into a group of former Tar Heel players … Ken Huff, Ted Elkins, and “the original #23 from Garden City LI”.  Phineas T. was looking for me and we connected simultaneously resulting in wild mutual gesticulating that would have greatly embarrassed Kid had she been there.  

   Acknowledging our buddieship with The Dickster present could be a career derailer for Phineas so wild gesturing was as close as we could get.  But once outed, “#23 from Garden City LI” made a beeline for me in that same “shoulders square to the line of scrimmage, low center of gravity” style that Tar Heel fans so loved in the early 70s.  He wanted to set up a lunch which we have intended to do for over a year now.  We both reconfirmed our sincere intentions to do so very soon.  

   The Dickster called the assemblage to order and explained the evening’s scenario.  Myles would say something then a panel of poobahs would say stuff, then they would take questions from the audience, … then Raymond and Sean would say they are staying and Dickie would announce he is retiring to run the Cape Lookout Lighthouse.  OK, I lied about those last two.

   Myles talked for about 25 minutes and announced that there are some serious problems in collegiate athletics but none of them are Carolina’s fault because, well, because he was in a room full of Carolina folks.  I began to formulate my question as I wondered what he would be saying if he was speaking in Boulder CO or Columbus OH.  Something like …

   “I am here to say that we have some serious issues facing collegiate athletics BUT those fine folks at The University of North Carolina are not responsible because they run one helluva great program.  But you low down, no-account scallywags here in Boulder oughta be shot.”  I was thinking that would be a fun meeting to attend.

   Myles said some good stuff about academic credibility and “the facilities arms race” among institutions to outspend each other in athletics.  He started AND ended his remarks with sappy quotes from JFK.  Apparently that is mandatory for any speaker at UNC including Ann Coulter and David Limbaugh.  He touched all the standard hot button issues and was careful to note with each that Carolina was a fine example of “how to do it right”.  The Dickster and The Meez beamed.

    I thought Myles came across quite sincere and only screwed up once when he tried to work in an anecdote about Carolina playing a double OT game vs Arizona in the NCAA Tournament?!?  At least he didn’t say UNC Wolfpack.  He gave the first of three obligatory high praises to Ye Olde Legend who was NOT in attendance.  I figured Dean was at The Sistine Chapel getting fitted for satin slippers and a pointy hat.  I hear he came in second to the German guy.  Billy Packer voted for the German.

   Myles finally ran out of breath and high praise for UNC, and Dickster convened the panel.  He tossed them a couple of softballs and they hit line drives into the audience.  Everyone seemed to defer to His Emeritus Bill Friday who sat in the middle appropriately.  His Emeritus is quite cool.  He has the air of “I can say whatever I damn please so you better be glad I am a polite old Emeritus”.

   Yadda yadda yadda … then The Little Prince moved deftly into the “questions from the audience” segment … and I crouched to pounce.  Some yahoo on the other side of the room asked something innocuous and I sensed “the moment”.  POW! … The Dickster pointed at me and the audience turned.

   As I rose to my full 6’4” of elongated provocative smartass, Little Johnny Swofford broke into a big ol’ Opie Taylor grin and Dickster looked like one of those nerdy campers in a Friday The 13th movie who runs smack dab into Jason Voorhees wielding a bloody machete.  Dickie’s stage whisper “Aw %$#@&, It’s BobLee” got The Meez to hyperventilating. Corey Holliday stuck a paper bag over Meezie face and I began …

   “My question is for President Brand.  I am a graduate of UNC and a classmate of Little Johnny Swofford, Don McCauley and a few others here.  Everyone in this room is connected to UNC in a highly partisan fashion.  Telling us how exemplary we are is nice, but, trust me, no one in this room needs convincing.  Of all the subjects taught on this campus … “Humility” never has been nor ever will be one of them.  (pause for gasps followed by snickers then riotous laughter and applause reminding me of the Henderson Rotarians)  A fact our rivals bring up frequently.

    In your remarks you noted all the reforms needed but added “but not here at UNC”.  Do you give this same speech at every institution, especially in the SEC?  Every school’s alumni I talk with are convinced that there ARE serious problems in college athletics but not HERE at ________.  It’s those low-down, no-account lying rascals over yonder …” 

   I had made my point and I pretty well knew how Myles would answer it.  His reply focused on the universal concerns for the financial aspects of “the college athletics arms race”.  I, of course, was hoping for a detailed explanation of blow jobs in Boulder and installing “stripper poles” in state-of-the-art “Football Centers”.

   The color was coming back to Dickie’s face and Meezie’s breathing was less labored.  Corey removed the paper bag.  Someone asked a question about “freshman eligibility” and His Emeritus got all giddy but both Meez and Little Johnny boxed him in and said doing away with it was impractical.  Swofford explained how beer ads are all over college game telecasts but it’s not his fault.

   Dickie realized he was on borrowed time so he decided to bring down the curtain.  No, he didn’t mention Matt’s new job.

   On the way home I thought of three “I shoulda asked” questions.  My favorite, of course, that I ask at every BobLee ALIVE show is “Who cheats in recruiting?”  The universal answer is the same – “They do” – meaning everybody but US” whoever US is.

   I also thought I would probably pay Kid’s college fund to attend a Myles Brand presentation at NCSU where Myles would say “You NC State folks need to straighten up and get your institution running right … like those incredibly wonderful perfect people over in Chapel Hill …”  Yep, that would be a genuine “hoot”.


 Swagger’s Stumper

Who is “the original #23 from Garden City LI”?


    The Petronus Towers are located in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and were featured in Entrapment with Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones.  I wonder if Maureen Dowd goes to see C Z-J’s movies? 

   There is only ONE Cadillac Escalade registered in Latta S.C. and guess who’s name it’s in … by by Raymond.

    BobLee’s TV appearance went well with no FCC fines within the first 48 hours.  Ya “just never know” what might come of it!

    BobLee to Chattanooga this weekend to meet with “College Charlie” and plot our strategy to take over the Internet.  “Charlie” is “good people”.  You need to check out the link to his site.

   Brian Roberts, son of former UNC baseball coach Mike Roberts, is having a break-out season so far with Orioles.  

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