Although his men's basketball team was predicted to lose its exhibition game against UNC last week, Mount Olive College coach Bill Clingan had entered into a win-win situation.
Sure, the final score of 100-69 in the Tar Heels' favor wasn't his ideal outcome. But the coach obviously cared more about getting his players the experience that comes with playing a major power such as UNC than with actually winning the game.
The NCAA recently ruled that Division I men's basketball teams can only play exhibition games against other college teams, which means that schools like Mount Olive could be seeing more top-tier opponents in pre-season play in coming years. D-I squads no longer can play teams such as the EA Sports All-Stars.
NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson told The Los Angeles Times that "limiting these exhibition contests to other four-year collegiate institutions is a healthier environment overall and eliminates the potential for problems." It's healthier because schools now don't have the option of paying noncollege teams to play in the hopes of recruiting their players.
UNC's own basketball coach has been scheduling exhibitions against non-Division I opponents since his days at the University of Kansas. Roy Williams told the Goldsboro News-Argus that - like those games - last year's match-up between the Tar Heels and N.C. Central University was a positive experience for both programs.