UNC entered the 2012 football season with a bowl ban from prior NCAA violations. The ACC added to that punishment, making the Tar Heels ineligible “for regular season or divisional recognition.” Well, UNC finished tied for first place in the Coastal Division and has recognized itself as Coastal Division champions. Technically, UNC would have won the tiebreakers if the team were eligible to have its tie broken. Despite the ACC recognizing Georgia Tech as the division champion, UNC has celebrated its dubious title with a billboard and now championship rings.
Claiming a title it wasn’t allowed to win naturally sparked debate. Here are a few arguments:
They Were Ineligible, You Know, Rules
If UNC is simply going to ignore the rules of a conference, then why is it participating at all? Titles lose all sanctity.—
Austin Johnson (@austin_johnson) April 30, 2013
They were ineligible so they couldn’t win, obviously.
They Accomplished Something So Let Them Wear Rings
Have no problem with college athletes getting rewarded for on-field achievements. ACC won't recognize it? So what.—
Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) April 30, 2013
What the team did was important to the team. Why do you care?
They Didn’t Accomplish Enough For Rings
For the record, I don't have a problem with getting the kids rings. I have a problem with the 'everyone gets a trophy' smell it has.—
John Mundy (@JP_Mundy) April 30, 2013
Didn’t this team give up 68 points to Georgia Tech at home? Weren’t they 8-4? I don’t mind UNC’s defiance, but this particular team didn’t earn rings.
Personally, I fall into the third category. An 8-4 record and a divisional tie is setting the bar pretty low for rings. But I understand what Larry Fedora is doing. He gets marketing and he’s good at it. The “Smart, Fast, Phsyical” tagline, the alternate uniforms, the argyle end zones, he’s not afraid to grab headlines. Claiming the Coastal Division title fits with what we know to be Larry Fedora.
~Lewis Woodard, WFNZ Sports Radio The Fan 610 AM
Find Lewis on Twitter @LewWoodard