© 2023 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Need a one-stop shop to catch up on the top sports stories big and small? Time Out For Sports airs Mondays on WFAE's "All Things Considered" and has what you need to know about everything from Charlotte-area high school football highlights to the latest updates on the Carolina Panthers.

McCrory, Others Speak Out On NC State Elimination; SC Will Let College Athletes Be Paid For 'NIL'

 NC State baseball players celebrate a home run in a College World Series game Monday.
NC State baseball players celebrate a home run in a College World Series game Monday.

There's a lot of controversy over N.C. State getting eliminated from the College World Baseball Series due to COVID-19 concerns. Name, image and likeness laws take effect in many states later this week. And local high school tennis players dominate in the state girl's tennis championship matches.

Langston Wertz Jr., a longtime sportswriter with The Charlotte Observer, joins us to talk about these stories and more for our segment Time Out For Sports.

Langston Wertz Jr, a longtime sportswriter for the Charlotte Observer.
Langston Wertz Jr.

Gwendolyn Glenn: Hi, Langston.

Langston Wertz Jr.: Hey Gwen. How are you doing?

Glenn: I'm great. So Langston, the N.C. State men's baseball team went into Friday's game needing a win against the Vanderbilt Commodores to get to the finals. However, due to at least eight positive COVID-19 tests and several other players being quarantined, only 13 players were cleared to play. This is how the game played out.

NCAA announcers (recording): Ground ball too short, Young goes the easy way. Nothing easy for Vandy in this one, but the Commodores survive and they force a Saturday-if-necessary game.

Glenn: N.C. State lost 3 to 1. Langston, tell us what happened next that led to the current controversy around the series that ended after that first game.

Wertz: Well Gwen, the way they lost was tough enough with just 13 players. Then at 2:10 in the morning, the NCAA basically said N.C. State's season was over. They were deemed unable to compete. N.C. State had come out of nowhere, been kind of the media darlings for a week and a half, and how that happened was really, really unfortunate.

Glenn: Now this morning on the "Packer and Durham Show," N.C. State's athletic director, Eugene Corrigan, said that the team exhausted every option to try and keep the series going.

Eugene "Boo" Corrigan (recording): At that point, when you're talking about a travel roster of 27 players with contact tracing, with everything else, and the numbers that we had that were positive, there were no other options for us at that point.

Glenn: And Langston, I read that health officials said they did not recommend that NCAA officials end the series for the Wolfpack but said that they would go along with the NCAA's decision.

Wertz: There was a lot of passing the buck along during this whole period. There was a lot of periods of people really didn't know what was going on. But ultimately, the NCAA said, "Here's our rules, but our rules can be superseded by the local rules." The local rules said that even if you're vaccinated, you should be tested. And I think ultimately N.C. State just decided to accept that ruling that we had guys who were vaccinated but had tested positive and we just didn't have enough players to continue.

Glenn: And now you have Republican lawmakers, including former (North Carolina) Gov. Pat McCrory and House and Senate leaders, publicly criticizing the NCAA decision. Where do you think this will go? And do you think it will encourage more college athletes and officials to get vaccinated?

Wertz: I think players are definitely going to think about whether or not (they) should get vaccinated. You know, "I don't want to put my teammates in this type of situation. I don't want to put the other team in this type of situation." I definitely think it's going to be something players have a long, hard thought about.

Glenn: And staying with college sports, laws that will allow college athletes to earn money from the use of their name, image and likeness will kick in in eight states this week. South Carolina's law goes into effect July 1. How do you see this changing college athletics going forward?

Wertz: If South Carolina is allowing athletes to profit on name, image and likeness, I think you're going to see the surrounding states do the same thing. It's become a recruiting thing. You know, if I'm trying to recruit a kid in North Carolina, say, "Hey, come to South Carolina, you can make money on your name and image and likeness. You can monetize your Instagram, but you can't do that in North Carolina." So I think you'll see other states follow up with similar policies. They have to.

Glenn: OK, last week was the beginning of the recruiting cycle where college coaches got to see high school athletes perform with their school teams instead of the (Amateur Athletic Union). Langston, explain what the AAU is and the importance of all of this.

Wertz: Well, the AAU is really travel basketball. In the ... spring and summer, you have players from multiple high school teams join up on these travel basketball teams. And the best of them play on three shoe circuits — Adidas, Under Armour and Nike. And then they play all summer long, but particularly a few weeks in April, a few weeks in July, the college coaches are allowed to come to the event to watch and play.

That's called the NCAA live period, and that's where a lot of your Division 1players get their scholarship offers... In 2019, NCAA allowed a live period for high schools. Kids had a chance to play on their school team in front of college coaches, which is a really neat thing.

We had another one this past weekend in the Winston-Salem area. There were more than 150 coaches there and kids get a chance to probably have a larger role in the school team versus when they had all these all-star teams come together. It was really neat. Gives the kids more chances to get recruited, gives the coaches more chances to see the people they're recruiting.

Glenn: OK, and Langston, in tennis, local high school girls killed it in the state championships. Tell us who won and from what school schools.

Wertz: Charlotte and Raleigh dominated. They won three of the 14 titles and six of the eight individual titles, particularly for the Charlotte area. You had Hough win in 4A, Pine Lake Prep win in 1A and Charlotte Catholic win in 3A. Catholic won all the singles, the doubles and the team titles. They just took everything.

Glenn: OK, and the outcome was not so good for Providence High School's baseball team. They fell short in the state championship last week, losing to Reagan High School. What happened, Langston?

Wertz: Yeah, in the state semifinals, they lost to Reagan. They ran up against a pitcher who is going to be a millionaire in a couple of weeks: He's going to be a draft pick, Josh Hartle. Reagan actually lost in the state championship series to Fuquay-Varina out of Wake County. Providence had a great season, but baseball is a one-and-done situation. You run into a hot pitcher, it's tough to beat them.

Glenn: Thanks as always, Langston.

Wertz: Thank you.

Glenn: Langston Wertz Jr. is a veteran sportswriter for The Charlotte Observer.

Sign up for our daily headlines newsletter

Select Your Email Format

Gwendolyn is an award-winning journalist who has covered a broad range of stories on the local and national levels. Her experience includes producing on-air reports for National Public Radio and she worked full-time as a producer for NPR’s All Things Considered news program for five years. She worked for several years as an on-air contract reporter for CNN in Atlanta and worked in print as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, The Washington Post and covered Congress and various federal agencies for the Daily Environment Report and Real Estate Finance Today. Glenn has won awards for her reports from the Maryland-DC-Delaware Press Association, SNA and the first-place radio award from the National Association of Black Journalists.