Always consider the motivations.
The NCAA, as with religions of antiquity, requires a sacrifice in cases such as the one that lay before Carolina with the official Notice of Allegations released this week.
This would be the ideal time for UNC to make that sacrifice and render a strong statement that it has learned from its errors and will act in concert with the image it strives so hard to portray.
There is no better way to accomplish this than for Dick Baddour, director of athletics, to retire gracefully.
He should make a statement that he has done his best for the school he loves so dearly and is ready to spend more time with his family.
Now is no time for stubborn pride.
He has served the university longer than many of its alumni have been alive.
There is no need to take cheap shots at him on the way out the door, either. Throw him a party; congratulate him on a retirement well-earned and then get down to the business of finding an AD who can finish what Baddour has guided the school through so carefully in the last year.
But it is important that he walk out that door.
His retirement and then a strong statement from a new AD could go a long way in Carolina's favor. UNC has already done plenty by suspending players later found to be innocent, and by losing players who were guilty of accepting improper benefits and academic improprieties.
The NCAA wants its pound of flesh.
UNC appears to an easy target for making an example, unlike Auburn and the rest of the Southeastern Conference, which the officials at NCAA headquarters clearly fear.
Doc pointed out to me via email that this is not necessarily the craziest idea in the world. A high level member of the current athletic administration would be a nice bone to toss the NCAA(whether it would actually matter is another discussion.) Dick Baddour, for various reasons which have nothing to do with the scandal, is looking pretty wooly. Baddour has been at UNC for 40 years and director of athletics for the past fourteen. His age and tenure makes him an ideal candidate for retirement at this point. Since it is probably going to happen within the next year why not do it now as a quasi-offering to the angry enforcement gods in Indianapolis?
The answer is that it makes more sense for the man responsible for the football program be held accountable. And Eddy Landreth is very quick to tell you just how wrong you are for thinking that.
Of course, by now many of you reading this are saying, maybe even screaming, that Coach Butch Davis is the one who should go.
You are wrong.
Davis is at fault for hiring John Blake. But no coach in America can keep a player from taking money from a runner or agent if the kid wants to do it.
As Duke's Mike Krzyzewski said, 'It only takes one kid to do it.'
Also, Davis does not oversee the tutoring program. That falls under the leadership of Chancellor Holden Thorp and Baddour.
With the tremendous investment in the football program at the moment and Davis' public relations skills, he can lead the football program out of this mess, back to respectability and to more wins on the field.
As for Thorp, he is relatively new to the job and would be better off learning from his mistakes than resigning. His departure would be an unnecessary sacrifice.
So while I agree with Doc that is not necessarily a crazy idea given the ease at which Baddour could retire. What I do find completely nuts is the logic Landreth employs here. It is as though Landreth has a conclusion he wants to reach and twists the logic to get there. That means downplaying anything that might make Davis look worse and playing up the angles that you can pin to Baddour. Such maneuvering is not uncommon that is until you get to this line.
The sacrifice must come from the man whose direct responsibility was to see that these kinds of mistakes did not occur in the athletic department.
If I said to you which UNC athletic department employee has the most in the way of "direct responsibility" for the current scandal who's name would you utter? I have little doubt it would the initials BD and not the reverse. Yes, you can make an argument the tutoring issues are more of a Baddour/Thorp problem than a football program issue. Except the only academic issues which were discovered were with the football team and it was one tutor who was let go according to procedure in 2009. Hardly the stuff of a massive academic scandal and certainly not playing on the same level as the Blake allegations. To say Baddour has more direct responsibility than Davis is simply ridiculous, especially in light of a defense which heavily insulated the head coach. If Davis escaped culpability in the notice of allegations how much more so is Baddour covered? The passion in which Landreth pursues his case against Baddour can only lead to one conclusion.
Eddy Landreth really hates Dick Baddour.
I mean really hate him not to mention Landreth's fan boy homerism is enough that even Bob Harris thinks it's excessive. Landreth is apparently invested in Butch Davis and really believes what he writes when he says Davis can be the guy who brings UNC out of this. Who knows, he might be right but in all of Landreth's rush to push Baddour out the door he conveniently ignores that at some point Davis too should be held accountable. This is a football only scandal with nine major infractions involved. The man running that program, regardless of the absence of his name in the allegations, probably should have a standard of some sort applied to him. Is that a suspension of X number of games? Forfeiture of a year's salary? Cleaning up trash at Kenan Stadium? I don't know the answer. Short of Davis being fired or resigning, other actions will be seen as ultimately meaningless. That doesn't mean the effort shouldn't at least be made.
At this point Davis enjoys enough support where it counts to stave off any serious consideration he will lose his job between now and the end of this calendar year. Baddour, on the other hand, is soundly disliked by UNC fans in general for the mishandling of past major hires. Any suggestion he should leave would be considered the best idea in the world by most. However letting Baddour go as some kind of sacrifice offered to angry deities is "for all the wrong reasons." There are numerous reasons one might come up as grounds for Baddour to step aside. What Landreth offers up here should not among them. Earlier I indicated most of the actions that could be taken against Davis would be seen as meaningless. Having the athletic director step aside while not touching the coach overseeing a football program with major infractions pending will look far worse.
Note: I correct a fair amount of typos because I wrote this at midnight last night and actually may have been half asleep when I did it.