UNC May Need to Fire Everyone All The Way To The Top

If there’s one jaw-dropping aspect of the UNC scandal, it is not that the Tar Heels would resort to cheating to try to build a football program, instead, it is the seemingly complete lack of recognition by the ostensible adults that run the university what is happening before their eyes.  Either the people in charge don’t know what happened in their football program, or they turned a blind eye to the misconduct of over a dozen players, the Associate Head Coach and their educational support staff and by so doing became willing accomplices. That logically disqualifies them from retaining their positions, and if UNC is going to “set things right” and restore their integrity, it may well need to replace more than its football coach, it may also need to replace its Athletic Director, its Chancellor and several members of its Board of Trustees.

Them not doing so will say everything that one needs to know about what UNC-Chapel Hill really stands for, and that won’t be integrity and academics.

With every passing statement of denial or minimization of the latest explosion below the waterline of the good ship Football,  UNC’s athletic director, chancellor, and now, even the Chairman of the Board of Trustees lose credibility and make one question if these men are truly qualified to hold jobs of leadership.

Consider the words of Bob Winston, the Chairman of the UNC Board of Trustees today: “I think we have the right guy as our coach,” Winston said. “I feel that Butch Davis is going to take a look at what’s happened and will figure the best way to move forward. And I think he is committed to building this program in a way that will reflect the values of the University of North Carolina.”

Isn’t it a little late for Butch Davis to ever “reflect the values of the University of North Carolina?”  That is, if those values are fair play, honest competition and and emphasis on academics — supposedly the very reason the school exists in the first place?

Winston went on to describe the job that UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp has done managing this scandal as “fantastic.”

Really?  With each passing day, UNC seems to get in more and more trouble, and it would seem that NCAA investigators might need to call a realtor and buy a home in Chapel Hill.  They have been on the campus so many times since July that they may as well live there.  The press has reported some five or six visits that UNC has announced publicly, but privately, people from UNC athletics have said that the NCAA has visited at least fifteen times and for longer than the university is willing to tell reporters.

Meanwhile, Thorp continues the party line of publicly supporting and praising Butch Davis, and continually reiterates that the very man who was in charge of the football program there when it careened into deep trouble is the perfect choice to lead them out of the jungle and back into respectability.

He’s echoed by the accidental comedy of UNC Athletic Director Dick Baddour, a man who is clearly out of his element.  Every single proclomation of “everything is fine” by Baddour lately has foreshadowed a huge new and damning revelation of misdeeds by a UNC player, coach or tutor.  By now, Baddour’s opening his mouth to try to calm the waters must send UNC fans running for cover.  Only the day before yesterday, Baddour said that crisis was nearly past.  That was a mere eight hours before the thermonuclear revelation that his former Associate Head Football Coach had been simulataneously employed by a sports agent while he was in Chapel Hill.  Calm waters indeed, and a Hollywood screenwriter trying to pen a black comedy could not have timed it more perfectly.

That is not Baddour’s only faux pas, instead, it is the latest in a collective series of them that  indicate his general incompetence.  He bungled the hiring and firing of Matt Doherty many years ago and got lucky when Roy Williams was persuaded to “come home” and fix UNC hoops.

Then he hired John Bunting, who promptly ran his mouth constantly and the UNC football program into the ground.

Enter Baddour’s next choice: Butch Davis, a man well known for his lack of loyalty to his employers, and one who has a reputation for breaking the spirit of the rules if not the letter of them.  Davis, after all, resurrected the Miami football program that was crippled by sanctions by bringing in football players under track scholarships.  The NCAA closed that loophole not long after.  Davis told Paul Dee and the Miami Hurricanes that he was not leaving their program, probably on his way to Cleveland to accept another job as an NFL head coach.  In Cleveland, the Davis era was marked by soap opera politics from the coach, and many of his former players there say now that not only had he lost the team by the time he left the Browns, that also behind his back that Davis was a laughingstock to his personnel.

Baddour apparently ignored all of these warning signs and gave Davis free reign over the UNC football operation.  Davis brought in John Blake, a man with a reputation for failure and rules transgressions of his own, and the rest is history.

Neither Winston, Thorp, Baddour or Davis could apparently be bothered to conduct as much as a simple Google search on Blake’s background, which would have yielded more warning signs than the dials on controls of a plane about to crash.  Nor could they be bothered to talk to Blake’s former employers and peers, who apparently have had plenty to say about him in public.

Objectively, it is fair to say that the UNC Scandal is the worst athletics scandal to hit an ACC school since basketball’s Dixie Classic Point Shaving Scandal of 1962.

In that particularly sordid event, 50 players were implicated for fixing (altering the score) of  the outcome of some 54 games. Four N.C. State players and one at UNC were charged with bribery and granted immunity in Wake County Superior Court for testifying against the conspirators. Five players were later indicted, convicted and given suspended sentences for fixing games in Durham County.

Six of the eight men accused of paying players to shave points pled guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges and served time in prison. Dave Goldberg and Steve Lekometros, went to trial in Wake County, were found guilty and both were handed two, five-year sentences. Both served 22 months in an N.C. prison.

Even that scandal, as bad as it was, never involved a coach — much less the second man in charge on a staff — as a co-conspirator.  UNC’s current football scandal has that, and much, much more. That much we know. The sad thing is, given the endless stream of revelations, it’s reasonable to assume that we may soon be greeted by even more sordid news about misdeeds in Chapel Hill.

Yet the man in charge continues to enjoy the public confidence of not only his direct manager, but also the head of the university and the man in charge of the Board of Trustees, the group charged to independently oversee the school and its operation.

That is not good management.

Good management is all about maintaining integrity, controlling risk and prudently creating an environment for sustained success.  It is also about telling the truth to the stockholders of the company, which are in this case UNC fans and the taxpayers of North Carolina, who pay Winston, Thorp’s and part of Baddour’s salary.  Not doing so demonstrates a lack of integrity, it also demonstrates dishonesty and infamy.

The people of North Carolina, the ones who are ultimately writing the checks for this mess, deserve the truth.  They deserve better than spin and self-serving self-interest, but so far, that’s all they’ve gotten from everyone involved.

Truth is, given their behavior, Bob Winston, Holden Thorp and Dick Baddour would be more qualified to run a company like Enron, which also had managers who couldn’t recognize the trouble they were in or tell the truth to the public about what had happened.

Like Enron, a corporation highly praised by the outside observers, UNC athletics enjoyed public trust and adulation for doing things the right way.  We know now that Enron was an illusion, and that under its shiny surface that nearly everything away from view was rotten to the core.  We’re learning the same lessons about UNC now: the football program has forever stripped away the shiny veneer of the “Carolina Way” — something supposedly built on integrity but in reality is nothing more than PR to appease the masses.  One can now reasonably question that if UNC football operates without control or authority, do other programs do the same?  It seems very possible with the managers currently in control over there.

While Winston or Thorp won’t go to prison like Enron CEO Ken Lay and CFO Andrew Fastow, one has to wonder why the UNC Board of Governors or if not them the State Legislature of North Carolina allows these men to continue collecting paychecks.

Given what’s becoming increasingly apparent, a boardroom of chimpanzees would have given UNC athletics better oversight and stronger management direction.

ACC & Other UNC Scandal

28 Responses to UNC May Need to Fire Everyone All The Way To The Top

  1. Wufpacker 10/01/2010 at 5:12 AM #

    Nice summary, Alpha. After reading that I feel like I need another shower. The Enron analogy seems particularly fitting and it seems the whole mess is moving in that direction further and further with each passing day.

    It seems to me that the folks involved (Winston, Bowles, Thorp, Baddour, Davis) were/are more interested in trying to keep the facade from crumbling than in trying to fix the problem(s). Now they’ve painted themselves into a corner from which they will not be able to extract themselves and still save face. They are, in a word, screwed.

    Cutting Blake loose as they did, IMHO their idea of damage control, now looks even shadier than it did at the time given the timeline of events that has come to light. Paying him a five figure severance looks even worse.

    For a school that has supposedly either been squeaky clean for decades, or has been very shrewd in covering it’s tracks, this “coordinated response” to the crisis seems like amateur night at the local comedy club. That is to say, while there is undeniable humor present, mostly its just pitiful and sad.

    So I have to ask myself why would they respond this way and continue to shoot themselves in the foot. There are only two possible answers. Either looks are deceiving and they really DON’T know all of this already, which gives them an indefensible “lack of institutional control” tag, OR they are trying like hell to keep the lid from coming off of something else, something bigger.

    What that bigger thing might be is up for speculation. More dirt in the football program such as major recruiting violations? Maybe, but why worry about that now? That’s like piloting a sailboat in a storm that has lost it’s mast and sails, has a giant hole in the hull, and then worrying because the rudder broke loose. If it were something like that they’d be better off fessing up at this point than letting the NCAA uncover it on their own.

    Nope. The only thing that makes sense, at least to my warped mind, is that there is more dirt to be found and it extends into other programs. Is it so far-fetched to believe that where one program is not being governed appropriately that others might not be as well? Is it so far-fetched to believe that if tutor(s) for the football players would bend the rules of academic integrity that those for players of other sports would do the same?

    We may never know the whole truth, but it will not surprise me in the least if other sports at UNC are dragged into this mess, on the academics side of things at least. That’s why the NCAA showing up yet again, and apparently having been around MUCH more than UNC administrators are willing to admit, is such an intriguing development.

    All it takes is one football player who is already screwed and who has knowledge of other wrongdoing to decide to talk to investigators. It seems there are plenty of candidates.

  2. NCSU88 10/01/2010 at 6:06 AM #

    I don’t think rolling out Dean will help any more.

  3. MattN 10/01/2010 at 6:38 AM #

    Does Butch have naked pictures of these guys snorting blow out of a hooker’s ass crack? Why in the hell are they supporting this obvious liar?

    To be honest, I think an argument could be made that UNC football is the dirtiest program of all time. Even eclipsing SMU. Yes, I know SMU got the death sentence and UNC likely won’t here. But keep in mind SMU’s original punishment for paying players was probation. It wasn’t until they were STUPID enough to continue to pay players after they were already on probation for paying players that the NCAA brought the guillotine.

    Here, we have an assosciate head coach as a runner for an agent. That simply is UNPRECEDENTED in NCAA history. That alone is likely enough to warrant greater than USC penalties. And that doesn’t even consider the academic violations which we ALL know go back years and into several other sports. Add in the recruiting violations sure to come (Blake was, after all, the lead recruiter) and I think the argument could be made UNC is the dirtiest program in the history of the NCAA. Far, far eclipsing anything Clemson, FSU or Miami ever thought of doing.

  4. imawolf 10/01/2010 at 6:50 AM #

    Wufpacker has written my thoughts. Nice job…. exactly what I have been thinking………..

  5. RegularExpression 10/01/2010 at 7:15 AM #

    Regarding Dick Baddour, I think he is a competent AD when the seas are calm. He is well liked by donors and the media and he seems to have good relationships with his his head coaches.

    However, he is clearly out of his element in this case. It appears that he is being controlled in this situation, not controlling the situation. Who is controlling things over there? Thorp? Not likely. I don’t think they have anyone who knows what the hell to do at this point.

    Bottom line, they need Winston Churchill right now, instead they have Jimmy Carter.

  6. tuckerdorm1983 10/01/2010 at 7:28 AM #

    I would hire Donald Trump to fly over Kenan Stadium this weekend and with a bull horn say to everyone “YOUR FIRED!!!!” of course all the coaches and players of the visiting team excepted. Somehow ECU has kept it clean, as far as we know, and UNC has not. Well what do you know.

  7. LKNpackfan 10/01/2010 at 7:35 AM #

    I think the Enron hyperbole could be removed and the point of the article actually strengths.

    The question is: “Isn’t it a little late for Butch Davis to ever “reflect the values of the University of North Carolina?””

    Absolutely it is.

  8. TOBtime 10/01/2010 at 7:52 AM #

    Extremely well-written piece Alpha. And Wufpacker, you could be hitting the nail squarely on the head. The clown-like actions and system of denial expressed by those in power at unx only make sense to me if THEY are clueless about what is coming out. Could it be that the level of corruption they allowed, now exposed, is surprising even some of them? If you don’t truly know the depth of what happened AND you don’t know who is about to break another story then your public comments would at times appear to be ridiculous. Does another word better sum up what we have seen from the hole?

  9. Pack78 10/01/2010 at 7:55 AM #

    ^Exactly the point: BD and John Blake DO reflect the ‘values of the University’…

  10. wolfbuff 10/01/2010 at 8:02 AM #

    The next player they need to recruit is Terry Tate, Office Linebacker to come in and get that athletic department – and probably the Chancellor’s office – in line.

  11. ADVENTUROO 10/01/2010 at 8:11 AM #


    Great IDEA…..but they actually DID recruit Terry Tate…..or the equivalent…..his name is Marvin Austin…

    Somehow, I don’t think that Nike will cast MA in the lead role of the TT remake….but it would be hiliarious……

    On a serious note….

    I still say that the NCAA should drop all this silly “lack of institutional control” mess.

    They are barking up the WRONG TREE…..

    What they should investigate is the “LACK OF ADULT SUPERVISION”

    What a fiasco….

    What a mess…..

    Watching the arrogant folks that kept screaming SNEAKERS & TICKETS twist in the wind as they shout “THE CAROLINA WAY…..PRICELESS

  12. UnclePen 10/01/2010 at 8:41 AM #

    Keep Butch around. If they ever beat us, or anyone else, it will be a meaningless victory.

  13. GoldenChain 10/01/2010 at 8:41 AM #

    KEEP THEM ALL!!!!!!
    This is the greatest accumulation of coaching and administrative talent in unx history!!!!!!
    The idea that they could all be fired is a travisty promoted by ABCers!

  14. bradleyb123 10/01/2010 at 8:46 AM #

    When I think about how WE were treated during the Valvano scandal, how we were “convicted” of so little wrongdoing, and how everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, was against State from the top down, administrators, the local media, etc., this just makes me sick.

    THEY are embroiled in one of the biggest, if not THE biggest college sports scandal in history, and from the top down, adminstrators, the local media (except maybe Tudor and JPG), seems to be supporting these folks.

    It’s really sickening. And their trainwreck is proving to be so much worse than ours was.

    It’s surreal. Unbelievable. On the verge of despicable.

  15. Ismael 10/01/2010 at 8:56 AM #

    So the guy (Butch), according to every interview ive ever seen or read of him lately, is that he just golly-gee, aw shucks, has no idea about how all this stuff could happen BUT BUT BUT he’s the obvious choice to lead them out of the woods? Butch Davis = Chevy Chase in the original “National Lampoon’s Vacation”.

  16. Hungwolf 10/01/2010 at 9:02 AM #

    A true leader has character and takes responsibility. Not once have I heard any of the UNX leaders take any responsibilty for what has happened. Instead it has been denial, we didn’t know, we can’t be held accountable for what a player or asssitant coach does. Not once has any of these jokers man-up and said, “It happened on my watch, I am responsible, and I take all the blame.”

    The UNX bunch has proven what so many have so long suspected. They are a classes self centered bunch that only interested in covering their own asses!

  17. Ismael 10/01/2010 at 10:20 AM #

    on all forums/blogs especially wral and n&o, im going to start referring to BD as Clark Griswold

  18. choppack1 10/01/2010 at 10:24 AM #

    I was telling my wife last night:

    Either Butch is dirty as hell or he has been beset by the unluckiest set of circumstantial evidence that would make him look dirty in the history of college football.

    I don’t believe Butch is an idiot. I think coaches like him know what they are getting when they bring in someone w/ the reputation of Blake.

    Here’s a question – did UNC run a simple credit check on Blake? Many employers do that now – simply because someone who doesn’t have a history of paying bills or debt also may coincidentally have issues showing up or doing other things that could keep him/her employed.

    If Blake had the kind of financial troubles that would require a loan from his best friend, I’d think this would show up in this report.

    Now, lets look at this from Butch’s, Baddour’s and Thorp’s perspective as if they were working for a large corporation w/ a very positive public reputation. If you are Butch you have gotten a new job as head of a department w/ very high visibility. Arguably your most important hire is your Recruiting Coordinator. He’s the main guy for bringing talent to your organization.

    One of your long time acquaintances has a reputation as a fantastic recruiter. He also has a reputation in some circles for maybe skirting the law.

    Do you hire him and just assume – well, all those bad things are unfounded – I’m not going to do much of a background check and I’m not really going to police him?

    Now, let’s look at the tutor issue, but through the lenses of that large corporation:

    You have this high profile department that generates tons of revenue and publicity, but compared to all of your employees, it’s small. Because of the revenue this department can generate – you hire employees you wouldn’t normally hire in other areas of the corporation. Because of the risk this department represents, you hire several internal auditors to help make sure that this employees are dotting their “i’s” and crossing their T’s as they should.

    These auditors play a key role – if they don’t do their job right or if they cut corners – they can hurt this entire high profile, high revenue producing department. Finally, these auditors must maintain a cordial, but professional relationship w/ these employees. Since they operate as an “expert” – they not only know how to show others how to follw the rules, but they know how to break them.

    Well, you find out one of these auditors has become “too friendly” w/ the employees she works with in said department.

    Do you A) fire her and assume – well she was just too friendly – she wouldn’t have done anything to impact the integrity of her actual job?

    Or do you: B) Bring in your auditing firm ASAP and have them look at the books of this department knowing that you had an auditor who broke a fundamental rule of his/her trade.

    You choose A. Well, it turns out that this auditor was helping some of your key employees in this key department manipulate some #s.

    Can you rightly be suprised when that turns out to be the case?

    Now – this above scenario assumes only somewhat minor infractions from this group. Even if you say these shortcomings are minor – you certainly weren’t minding your store.

    When an issue came up – you took the path of someone just looking at immediate short term results. You made assumptions – and at the very least, your assumptions weren’t correct.

    As the captain of this ship – can you rightly say that these events surprised you?

  19. Cliffdaddy 10/01/2010 at 10:30 AM #

    Baddour and Thorpe remind me of two nerds getting to hang out with the star qb of the high school football team. Seems like they are purely infatuated with him.

    As evidence, refer to that pic of Thorpe and BD entering the Georgia Dome slapping fives with the fans. It’s tough to tell, but it appears Thorpe may have an erection in that photo

  20. packalum44 10/01/2010 at 11:02 AM #

    ^ I’m also beginning to think this trio might be packing fudge.

  21. NCSU84 10/01/2010 at 11:36 AM #

    When I informed my wife (a UNC grad) that many are assuming Butch’s days are numbered, her response was, “…he needs to go, we are better than that, our school has integrity blah blah blah” I love her dearly, but tarholes will always be tarholes – better than anyone else (in their minds).

  22. jpack 10/01/2010 at 12:20 PM #

    “NCAA investigators might need to call a realtor and buy a home in Chapel Hill.” The “Ellington House” may be available…but then again, that may bring the basketball program into focus

  23. packof81 10/01/2010 at 12:40 PM #

    These guys are willing to ride this raft right over the falls and take the school with them. It just shows what a bunch of sleazeballs are running UNC.

  24. Wolfman646 10/01/2010 at 8:14 PM #

    This has nothing to do with this thread, but just had to share. I’m riding the bus home in Portland and this dude just got on the bus with a Carolina windbreaker. He’s shouting on the phone about how it took him 5 years to graduate high school with summer school. The Carolina Way personified.

  25. Wufpacker 10/01/2010 at 8:38 PM #

    ^ LOL

    NCSU84, I actually think your wife’s response is closer to what it should be than most UNC-CHeat alums/fans. Now maybe she should have said “..our school needs to REBUILD it’s image and RECLAIM it’s integrity..”, something they clearly can’t say they currently have, at least not in the present tense. But at least she doesn’t seem to believe that Butch is clean and that he’s the man to clean things up.

    It’s that sentiment that still blows me away, and it seems that a relatively large number of them still believe that.

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