The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday December 2nd

Old-School TV More Important Than CAA Bill

Brad Matthews is all set to sign legislation that will give Student Congress oversight of the Carolina Athletic Association. I was hoping Matthews would spend his time more usefully, perhaps by cracking a beer and hunkering down for a night of "Diff'rent Strokes" reruns.

Last Tuesday night, in a really surprising landslide vote of 17-1, Congress decided to place the CAA under its control. It also voted to censure the CAA and urge future Congress chumps to investigate the past two administrations. The bill was put to Matthews, ready for a signature to set the measures in stone.

A scary thought, indeed.

But Matthews had a few problems with the bill, and he has met with members of the Rules and Judiciary Committee to make minor changes. Congress is set to vote on the revised bill tonight. Judging by the first vote, it should pass with flying colors. And judging by Matthews' meeting with the committee, the cap is already off his Bic.

Too bad it's all a bunch of baloney.

I find it pathetic that students and Congress are fighting for an injustice that doesn't deserve such devotion.

Basketball tickets. CAA firings and trash-talking. It's a pretty weak cause.

Because I couldn't care less if CAA President Tee Pruitt and his cohorts passed out a few free tickets on the sly.

The real crime is that I wasn't one of the lucky friends.

If Matthews signs the bill, and I'm pretty sure he will, students will know where every CAA-allotted ticket goes, and Congress will have to approve all CAA Cabinet appointments.

Since we're being nitpicky about ticket allocations, I'd like to know who the chancellor gives his extra tickets to, or if friends of Director of Athletics Dick Baddour are getting a sweet deal. If CAA has to reveal their ticket-takers, I'd like all the honchos to do the same.

And if CAA appointments must be approved, why not appointments within the Asian Student Association or Sangam, or who gets to sing the lead in the Clef Hangers' version of "Carolina in My Mind." It's a slippery slope.

If Student Congress is going to take charge of student-run organizations, they might as well go all they way and not half-ass it. Take control of the CAA -- then you won't have to be friends with Tee to score those choice seats. Take control of the student body president -- then you won't have to wait for those pesky signatures. Hell, take control of the Honor Court -- even y'all couldn't screw that one up.

Everyone, even the jokers in Congress, agrees that the nonsense in CAA stemmed from an abuse of power.

My contention is that Congress is not immune to said abuse either.

The kids in the CAA, Honor Court and Student Congress are the same as you and me, with more ambition. They're college kids, and they screw up.

And the scenario introduced by Congress amounts to nothing more that students supervising students. Congress is not older and wiser, nor are they more responsible or honorable than any organization on this campus. There are certainly no guarantees that its added presence in the CAA voice will make things all better.

Renegade Rep. Chris McClure was the only dissenting voice amid the nonsense. He told The Daily Tar Heel, "It's like every other organization on campus -- it has some problems, but if Student Congress decides to start taking over groups that had problems, it would be taking over every group on campus."

Now, word on the street is that McClure is pals with Pruitt, and this probably plays a part in his sentiments. But McClure makes a good point just the same. Congress should stick to what it knows, which ain't much.

To Matthews, I advise you to listen to me and ignore the voices of congressional demons in your ear.

It's not too late to do the right thing.

Because if "Diff'rent Strokes" isn't on, "The Facts of Life" is just as entertaining.

Columnist Ashley Stephenson can be reached at ashley21@email.unc.edu.

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