By Kevin Wilson: CNJ columnist
It was Duke. It was UNC. And I was there. On my couch.
Today marks the one-week anniversary of the season’s first North Carolina-Duke basketball battle, a rivalry that’s even reached our newsrooms. I still remember the first day I worked with a UNC graduate, and I was working on sports.
“Yo, Kevin,” he said without looking. “Just wanted to let you know, any time you need an anti-Duke column for that sports section, say the word.”
“Oh, that’s OK,” I said as I turned toward him. “If I need something, one of our wire services usually has something ready, and I wouldn’t want to put you in a bind with your other responsibilities.”
He pointed to his temple and said, “It’s already written in my head.”
And I couldn’t resist, once deadline no longer loomed. “So what, exactly, do you have against Duke University?”
With crazed eyes and a raised voice, he said, “You mean the University of NEW JERSEY at DURHAM???” And he lectured me about the college being an Ivy League wannabe for New Jersey kids who couldn’t get into Princeton.
Duke fans contend UNC fans are just jealous that Duke, with half the enrollment of UNC, is just as competitive in hoops. And the battle continues
Wednesday’s game featured the No. 3 Tar Heels and the No. 5 Blue Devils, and the crowd featured notables. Scanning the crowd, ESPN found numerous celebrities, and a disappointment — Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops.
For those who don’t know, Stoops got paid $2.775 million to be the Sooners’ coach in 2008. That doesn’t count the $3 million he received for staying at OU through 2008.
Part of that $5.775 million, I presume, went to buy game tickets, and plane tickets, and a rental car for a game 1,040 miles from his office. But guess who else was playing that night, 250 miles away? The University of Oklahoma, ranked No. 2 in the nation and visiting Big 12 rival Baylor.
But I guess that’s the “not as I do” attitude of college athletics. The coaches can do whatever they want, no repercussions. Stoops could break contract with the Sooners and leave tomorrow if Oklahoma State offered him $2,775,001. But the players who just signed letters-of-intent with the Sooners are bound to stay there. And the players Stoops recruited in previous years have to sit out for a whole season if they decide to play elsewhere. All while Stoops gets paid nearly