The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday May 31st

The `Anybody-But-Songer Candidate' Shows CAA Woes

Oh, sorry. Slipped into "Billy Madison" there for a second. But take out comatose receptionists and gay ex-wrestlers, and it's just like the latest Carolina Athletic Association nonsense.

Or something.

Seriously, the melodrama unfolding within the hallowed halls of Suite B is getting quite ridiculous. And it seems it could continue this way for a while if Reid Chaney doesn't grow a pair and nip this behavior in the bud early on in his administration. I have serious doubts this will happen.

Some background: When I had only the vaguest notions of CAA's internal strife, two bright-eyed young men came before the editorial board to solicit its support for their presidential bid.

One clearly knew his stuff.

He had diagrams of a proposed seating change and a letter from a high-ranking Educational Foundation officials saying the plan to add risers to the other baseline in the Smith Center was a distinct possibility. He had what appeared to be a workable and hassle-free plan for ticket distribution. He pledged to get rid of the questionable 169 seats allotted to Carolina Fever.

Most importantly, this guy looked me in the eye and vowed to reject the slush fund of tickets that has allowed Mr. Tee to hook up his boys with tickets all year, including a rumored eight for our beloved student body president and Pruitt's roommate Brad Matthews.

Then his opponent came in. The young man, as nice as he could be, was visibly nervous. He had a few good ideas, the best being the plan to have bracelet distribution in the Pit.

But that was about it.

We felt bad and liked him. He clearly just didn't have what it takes. We thought anyone in his or her right mind would agree. We were wrong.

The first guy, the one with all the good ideas, was Michael Songer.

The latter is the new CAA president.

Did we completely misjudge Mr. Chaney? I really don't think so.

Throughout the campaign's hairier moments, we didn't hear so much as a peep from Chaney. He let the most eloquent Bryan Hart do the talking for him.

Ah ha, dear Watson! The game is afoot. That wouldn't happen to be the same Bryan Hart who was CAA vice president a few weeks ago jumping on the bandwagon of someone who he doesn't really know but someone who vows to keep the Fever faction afloat?

Why, I do believe it is! Well done, Holmes!

Elementary. Quite so.

You see, what was underlying this whole mess was not who was the better candidate, it was who supported Fever and who wasn't Michael Songer.

Reid Chaney truly was a pawn.

Now Tee and company will tell you, while trying to keep from foaming at the mouth, that this was about upholding the integrity of CAA (an oxymoron after the last few weeks) by keeping out a dishonest guy. But let's not kid ourselves.

This was a vendetta against someone who had the guts to put into public view problems in a student-run organization.

Unfortunately, it was a successful one.

The bottom line: CAA kids allowed their personal biases to cloud their judgement, resulting in an inexperienced and, frankly, clueless candidate getting elected. The sad thing is the CAA rank and file probably like it that way.

So Chaney, to salvage any hopes of pulling CAA out of the gutter, must commit a slight breach of political etiquette by adopting many of Songer's platform initiatives. First and foremost, he too should make the pledge to reject the ticket slush fund. He should hold the drawing of the random number out in the open and find a system that can in no way be susceptible to fraud.

Chaney should streamline Cabinet to eliminate unnecessary positions.

Finally, he should get rid of or further reduce Fever's tickets. As a senior, I watched my last home basketball game from the upper level, as did a thousand or more of my classmates. Meanwhile, Fever kids, many of whom are underclassmen, watched from better seats.

This is inherently unfair, especially when a friend of mine in Fever has confirmed that he does next to nothing when he attends olympic events.

Chaney, if he does have a pair and any sense of basic fairness, should implement these sound ideas, regardless of how unpopular it will make him.

But I wouldn't be a bit surprised if he remains that same timid, aw-shucks guy in the edit board meeting and lets his own organization walk all over him.

Matt Dees is a senior journalism and political science major. Reach him at

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