Well, if none of you guys are gonna say it...
The justice, it is poetic. What a great ending to a fantastic basketball season. Decades of academic fraud, while under the guise of the "Carolina Way" went unnoticed, but finally the truth came forth and in the end so did the punishment. Not by NCAA sanctions, not by self-impositions, but in a far worse way.
See, I've been there. I've seen a program that I love get caught cheating and have to deal with both the sanctions and with the rebuilding. That's typically what happens in cases like this; a team cheats, they get caught, they deal with the consequences. Then they move on. It happened in the '80s with SMU, it happened in the '90s with Kentucky, it happened this year with Louisville.
And it should've happened with UNC.
But it didn't. Why? Because they thought they could win the title this year, and they know that titles are bulletproof. So instead of taking their lumps, self-imposing sanctions, and doing what most programs do when faced with blatant NCAA violations, they lawyered their way into putting off the punishments for just one more year in hopes that a banner would save them.
It almost happened. With a little bit of luck given to them by the committee and by various upsets, UNC managed to make its way to the National Championship game by facing no greater than a 5 seed. Just for comparison's sake, their opponents, the Villanova Wildcats, defeated a 3, a 1, and a 2 on the way to the title game. Villanova earned it. UNC, in what would become a most excellent trolling job by the College Basketball Gods, skated their way to the title game and were sure-fire favorites to win their 6th (or 7th or 8th, depending on which UNC fan you talk to) National Championship.
It was a great game. Villanova got off to an early lead. UNC came back. UNC leads by 10. Nova leads by 7. It's close again coming down to the wire. What a freaking shot by Marcus Paige. I love to picture the elation from UNC fans in my mind.
Or, as Tarheel alum Rasheed Wallace famously says, "Ball don't lie."
Elation quickly turns to heartbreak, and UNC fan's punishment is complete.
NCAA sanctions would probably be over after one season. This is the type of loss that will be painful for years to come. And it is truly deserved.
Maybe next time you'll learn to just take your punishment, deal with the consequences, and move on. Because now, the "Jenkins shot" will replace the "Laettner shot" as the climax of NCAA highlight reels.
And I thank you for that. I'm thankful for the "Carolina Way." I know how you feel, Tarheel Fan, and I am glad that you hurt. Because you deserve it.
Ball don't lie.