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Should We Care about Fedora's OK State Ties?

The more things change in Chapel Hill, the more they stay the same.

Fedora, seen here coaching in a half-empty Keenan Stadium.
Fedora, seen here coaching in a half-empty Keenan Stadium.

If the allegations levied by former Oklahoma State players are true--and the first report is apparently just one in SI's five-part exposé, so more evidence is certain to mount--it will be impossible to believe Larry Fedora when he proclaims that if something untoward was going on, he didn't know about it.

Fedora was, after all, the Cowboys' offensive coordinator for three years during the height of the purported scandal, and a number of his assistants, including the handsomely -rewarded Gunter Brewer (175K a year), are also Stillwater transplants.

The University of North Carolina will proclaim that it could not have possibly had any knowledge of the OK State scandal when it hired Fedora and that the institution stands by the coach's soon-to-be-issued assertion of innocence. And this is the tack the school likely should take, as it is certainly plausible that it did not know Fedora was soiled when it brought him in to replace Butch Davis. One would assume that UNC would have thoroughly vetted its choice after being embarrassed by an academic fraud and improper benefits scandal; nonetheless, while UNC's judgment might yet again be in question here, it's OK State's butt that is on the line. And while UNC, in its epic and futile quest for football relevance, may well have brought in Fedora precisely because of the questionable lengths he will go to win, you just can't prove it.

And that is why I wonder whether we--we being the ardent supporters of N.C. State--should care. North Carolina will certainly not be punished for anything OK State did; hell, UNC was barely punished for what it did. And I cannot imagine a scenario that would cost Fedora his job. OK State as an institution, not the individuals responsible, will bear the brunt of whatever punishment may be forthcoming from the NCAA. It's a fool's errand to get our hopes up that this latest allegation (albeit indirect) against the Heels will result in anything resembling meting out justice from the NCAA. After living through 20 years of Pack basketball banished to the wilderness of irrelevance for lesser crimes, that stings.

The NCAA could not punish Duke because no one would cooperate with its investigation of Lance Thomas and the organization does not have subpoena powers, thus it was unable to compel any party to come forward, or so the story goes. But plenty of people seem ready and willing to cooperate in the unfolding case against OK State. Maybe that is why Fedora tried to buy time when reporters asked him about his knowledge of the scandal today. He told them he would be willing to talk about it tomorrow.

No doubt Fedora and the UNC PR powers that be will be doing two things in the meantime: trying to determine whether Fedora will be implicated in future installments of the exposé and coaching the coach on what to say when he does face tough questions. Or maybe tomorrow will never come. Regardless, while it may be fun to troll that UNC fanjerk that works in the cubicle across from you, I cannot see this story as being anything more than further proof that the self-proclaimed Flagship will ultimately remain out of reach from the inconsistence arm of the NCAA's bylaws.

It's business as usual at Chapel Hill: cheating to attain football mediocrity, getting away with it, all while playing in front of 48,000 fans, half of whom are disguised as empty seats. I don't know whether to laugh or cry; I don't know whether or not to care.