Unusual Goodbye to Carolina

For those of you who follow football recruiting, you know how pleased we were several years ago when we landed a running back from the Midwest named Andre Barkley. He was nationally ranked and many recognized football powers competed with UNC for Barkley's services.

After he reported to Chapel Hill, I tried to secure information on how he was doing because I fully expected him to make an immediate impact on the team. Information was hard to come by which completely baffled me. I should have been able to figure it out but I wasn't able to.

It now appears the reason I couldn't get information on Barkley was that he was a disappointment and naturally, nobody was anxious to divulge that we had made a recruiting mistake. It happens all the time. It appears that Barkley played against inferior competition and thus was overrated as a Division 1A college prospect. Eventually, he transferred to a school in the Midwest, seems like it was Michigan State, but then he withdrew and transferred to Bowling Green. After that I don't know what happened to him but I'm fairly certain that he gave up football.

You may wonder why I'm writing about Mr. Barkley since he no longer has ties to UNC and it doesn't appear that he will surface elsewhere in the football world and make us lament the fact that he is no longer at UNC. Well, I'll tell you why I am writing about him because his press statement, when he left Carolina, left a lasting impression on me but unfortunately I didn't retain a copy of it. It was something I regretted for several years until recently when someone surfaced with a verbatim transcript of his statement. I repeat it here because it warrants some sort of literary attention. I am considering establishing a Quoters Hall of Fame or some sort of institution where I can preserve for posterity quotes that I find worthy of induction. I still haven't decided whether the quote or the quoter will be inducted into this HOF.

Andre Barkley's statement when he left Carolina is as follows:

"My significant decision regarding one's individualized education is where the focus of all learning is concerned. Even though I enjoyed having had the experience at North Carolina, I discovered within myself that my individualized conception at this time in my life is incongruent with the goal in which I would like to excel."

I'll let you in on a little secret. I'm starting to worry a little bit about myself because the more I read it, the more I think I am starting to somewhat understand it. Believe me, that was not the case on my first reading.

So maybe it is best for everybody that Mr. Barkley moved on. I don't wish him anything but the best but I think he might have been headed for difficulties other than on the playing field in Chapel Hill. Professors are easy to knock but I wonder how many of us have really given much thought to the difficulty they have in dealing with some of the "projects" they get. I was talking with a former Div. 1A football asst. coach the other day and I asked him if he missed coaching. He said he missed certain aspects of it, but he quickly pointed out there was one thing he did not miss and that was " raising someone else's kids." Not quite the same thing as what professors experience but it may be closer than you first think.