Weep Not For Scott Carter

Marky Billson
4 min readAug 2, 2022

As enthusiastic as he may have been, he really wasn’t that good of an athletic administrator. Now, maybe instead of trying to put forth the best possible spin ETSU will try for the most possible wins.

Marky Billson

I’ve told this story before. Heck, I even broke it in Sports Talk a generation ago.

But the first time I ever heard of Scott Carter, he was playing henchman for an athletic administration that had taken away the very program that had brought him to East Tennessee State University.

In 2004 a group of fans took signs to an ETSU basketball game protesting the recent decision to drop the football program. The powers that be at ETSU then took the signs from the fans, and Carter, a young athletic department employee who’d recently played football for the Bucs, was asked to appease them.

Instead of telling the executioners of his program “you got yourself in to this mess, now you get yourself out” he instead played the loyal company man and suggested the fans bring signs to the next game not critical of the decision to drop football, but rather reading “We Love Football” (!).

Former ETSU Athletic Director Scott Carter played fullback in ETSU’s memorable 19–16 victory against Georgia Southern, then ranked №1 in Division I-AA, in 2001.

That’s not a display of leadership. That’s being a company man. And while in later years Carter did express regret to me for his actions that day his actions that day defined what ETSU has seemingly valued more than anything else.

Company men instead of leaders.

True, no organization likes rouges, but there is a question of being so orientated to defend one’s misdeeds that the cover up is worse than the crime.

Former ETSU athletic director David Mullins seemed obsessed with it. When he couldn’t keep the Atlantic Sun basketball tournament in Johnson City, he suggested it was a chance for fans of the Bucs to visit other cities. When they won the conference’s All-Sports Trophy in 2007, he suggested it was the greatest year in ETSU athletics history despite the absence of football or either basketball team in the NCAA Tournament. When asked for a comment about an effort to restore football under his tenure, he did not tell the reporter of any plan, just that “people love this…