Not exactly startling, but the timing is strange. Butch Davis, who previously worked at “The U” (clue number one), was not exactly up-front with his employers, the University of North Carolina. And last fall, when several of his players were suspended for the entire 2010 season, Coach Davis still got a free pass.
No longer. I guess with the NCAA breathing down their throats, chancellor Holden Thorp and Athletic Director Dick Baddour, perhaps fearing for their jobs, did what they should have done last fall.
Blind loyalty is not a good thing when it comes to coaches who are just a bit shady. Certainly academic fraud and improper player benefits (the two reasons the NCAA is hanging around Chapel Hill) should have been red flags for those in charge.
Maybe the giddy thoughts of possibly winning an ACC title caused leadership to look the other way. Unfortunately for the team, they lost any chance to have a spectacular season when 14 players (seven for the entire season), including several eventual NFL draft picks, were suspended. The Heels settled for an 8-5 (4-4 ACC) record…the same as the two previous teams produced.
Carolina has always had the appearance of a program that was above the fray. Dean Smith was nothing but classy on and off the basketball court. Same for Roy Williams. But the football program has sullied the entire university’s reputation.
Tar Heel fans should be wondering about their quarterback…and looking forward to the big games on the home schedule. Instead, October 28 is not the date most important to fans and to the school. That’s when an NCAA hearing about nine potential major violations will occur. They will likely ask the same questions as UNC’s Board of Trustees asked when they demanded that the chancellor explain himself and his actions on Wednesday.
I always think those at the top have more influence than people think. If so, Thorp and Baddour might also be seeing the door hit them on the ass on their way out.
UPDATE: AT 11:19 A.M., UNC ANNOUNCED THAT BADDOUR HAS STEPPED DOWN AS AD…THAT WAS QUICK!