They are both from the South Side of Chicago…. but she doesn’t drop F-bombs in conversation. Neither of them are too popular along picturesque Franklin Street these days. He would certainly be recognized…. she was not as we strolled that legendary sidewalk earlier today. Both their names start with “M”.
She had a cheese quesadilla. I had a cobb salad. Who she? Oh, I’m sorry. I had lunch Tuesday with Mary Willingham. ……
Its not that I don’t trust “the media” or UNC officials (other than BubbaTheRealAD) but frankly I don’t. As with Jay Smith, I was simply curious about “Mary”….. aka Mary Whistleblower aka Mary Willingham – aka “that lyin’ no-count crazy b*tch that’s trying to destroy UNC athletics”.
VERDICT: I like Mary. She has “moxie”. I like gals with “moxie”. Blondie has moxie. Kid has moxie. I’m pretty sure Ann-Margret has moxie. Kelli Fineglass (Director of The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders) has moxie. I could go on but I’d quickly get into political figures and lose 50% of you’ans. Gals without moxie have to work a lot harder to earn my like.
I guess I expected Mary to show up in Jackie Onassis incognito scarf and big sunglasses (see above) maybe with a coupla palookas hanging back 20’. Nope, she just walked up to The Carolina Brewery with Jay.
The file pics that you’ve all seen of Mary do her an injustice. I explained that such is a motive of photo-journalism. She has learned a lot about journalism over the past year or so…. and about university administrative bureaucracy. To that, one of my first questions was “would you do ‘it’ all over again?” A quick “absolutely”.
I told you last week that Jay Smith is not the trite stereotype of the jock-hating professor. That upset many of you who were comfortable classifying him as “one of those”. He isn’t.
Mary is NOT some academic version of SNL’s churchlady with her hair in a bun and wearing orthopedic stockings. In a college town with two stereotype female-types – “scraggly hippies” and “ditzy valley-girl coeds”, Mary doesn’t fit either. She’s a 52 y/o wife and mother who is well-traveled and quite savvy as well as the afore-mentioned moxie.
I quickly had her laughing. Either with me or at me. I don’t care and I didn’t ask. Moxie AND a ready laugh…. uuummmhhh. None of that fits “Typhoid Mary” you’ve heard about.
I established my bona fides. Damnation. By the time I had explained my UNC “I was there when” and “I know” and “I knew” and “here’s what I think about that” Mary knew why Jay told her “you really need to meet this BobLee guy”. The part where I suggested that catchy nickname for Charlie Justice got a few raised eyebrows.
The audience for this website is so diverse (ya reckon!) I have to keep the two warring camps separate. ABCers are ready to put Mary on a postage stamp as the Joan of Arc of The Great Unpleasantness. TruBlues….. not so much. Micki Krzyzewski and Frau Yow would both get more votes for “Most Admired” around The Old Well these days than Mary would. Mary is cool with that.
Actually Mary is quite “cool” with this whole mess. She was a bit surprised by the toxicity of the Internet venom early on. Everybody always is. Holden getting the death threats et al is pretty unnerving for someone unaccustomed to celebrity infamy. There are some very very scary people “out there”. South Side Chicago gals don’t scare easily.
Threaten something as important to some sad sickos as The Carolina Way and you have to expect a few unhinged responses. Her mail box has not been bricked nor has the obligatory box of dog poop appeared on her doorstep. Those aren’t as popular in these cases as they once were.
Oh…. have I mentioned that Investigator Wainstein HAS met with Wayne Weldon. Mary and Jay were able to confirm that. I am hearing from several inside sources that The Wainstein Report IS DEFINITELY NOT going to be just an expensive Martin Report.
That’s not guaranteeing the rafters come atumbling down but neither should anyone expect a whitewash / rug-sweep-under. THAT news will make an ABCer day.
The stumblebums in South Bldg tried (rather successfully) to discredit Mary via her statistical data….. conveniently ignoring her only real concern …… UNC has been admitting a significant number of FB / Bkball student-athletes who are incapable of performing college level classwork. “Significant number” being a point of debate. Regional historians will recall that a version of exactly that is what got Jimmy V canned. It was never one pair of sneakers or some tickets.
“They” have attacked her mean-median-mode statistics rather than sitting down across from some of these kids and seeing the academic cluelessness in their eyes. Oh geee, whatever we do lets not look the problem in the eye…. Heavens no!
Trotting out Marcus Page and Ryan Switzer to convince the yokels they are typical?? Bad move there Carol.
Yes…. while there were “some” prior to Here Comes Butch, the floodgates opened when he brought his BCS brand of football to Chapel Hill. What Internet Legend is on record with that info? Did Butch and BOTBob agree that’s how he would do it.? Neither I nor Mary were on hand when that was discussed. Dickie was.
UNC (and its comparable institutional rivals) have always had “a few special cases” on their rosters. A few can be assigned “keepers” to get them to class etc. When a handful becomes a “whole lot” that’s way too many cats to try and herd.
Does Mary believe “Roy knew” how his/Matt’s kids were getting by? Mary certainly “knew” and she wasn’t being paid $2,000,000 to know. Roy probably doesn’t know Wanda’s birthday. “What does Roy know” is a trick question.
Still in Chapel Hill, Mary is no longer involved in how this local skirmish is resolved. She is fighting a larger war trying to force NCAA reforms whether thru the O’Bannon Case or otherwise. “Kids getting paid” is not her pet concern. Kids getting a positive educational experience IS her issue.
She knows the nationwide stats of how many incoming freshmen’s NFL and NBA dreams never come true and they leave college with no foundation for any sort of productive life after Football or Basketball. A 20 y/o with a blown knee and a 5th grade reading comprehension has a bleak future. Has NO future.
Hellfire…. if UNC, and other institutions that harrumph that they care, would simply set up an academic trac that takes an 18 y/o athlete at a VERY modest educational level and fast trac him in 2-3-4 years to at least the high school graduate level he was deprived of thru flim flams in his secondary education. That would be an improvement over the current practice of “eligibility tracs”.
Mary Willingham actually believes “going to college” carries a mutual responsibility for both student and institution.
Does any sane person disagree with that? If “UNC playing in BCS bowls and Final Fours” is your only priority you don’t qualify as “sane” for the purposes of that rhetorical question.
Because Mary Wilingham is NOT the Typhoid Mary you may have conveniently conjured up to fit your agenda, doesn’t mean you have to appreciate her. Many of you still won’t even after reading this. But I do (appreciate her).
Mary has moxie…. PLUS she doesn’t like Coach K.