Friday, November 4, 2011

UNC and NC State coaches fight over which school is North Carolina's "flagship" university.

In-state football rivalries are things that can get pretty intense sometimes. Just look at Alabama and Auburn, for example. So it's no shock when two rival coaches like North Carolina State head football coach Tom O'Brien and interim University of  North Carolina head football coach Everett Withers get into a little vocal skirmish over which school is North Carolina's "flagship" university.

"Withers went on a radio show this week and said North Carolina is the state's "flagship" university and pointed out that the Tar Heels' graduation rates are higher than the Wolfpack's. Those comments irked O'Brien, who defended his program's academic work and took jabs at North Carolina's recent NCAA trouble over improper benefits and academic misconduct. North Carolina officials went to Indianapolis last week for a hearing with the NCAA infractions committee.

"I'm just going to coach my football team, and I'm not going to coach his," O'Brien said when asked about Withers' comments after Thursday morning's practice. "As far as the flagship, here is a guy that's on a football staff that ends up in Indianapolis. If you take three things you can't do in college football, you have an agent on your staff, you're paying your players and you have academic fraud. I mean, that's a triple play as far as the NCAA goes.

"I don't know what he has anything to talk about or they have anything to talk about. If that's what the people want in their flagship university at North Carolina, then so be it."

Withers and O'brien bickering over whether UNC or NC State is North Carolina's "flagship" school comes pretty close to Jorge Luis Borges " fight between two bald men over a comb" than anything since the Falkland Islands War. Or at least it would, if it weren't for college basketball, where UNC is certainly closer to being the "flagship" school between the two. When both schools aren't sailing behind Duke, that is.

(via The Winston-Salem Journal

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