***scroll for updates***
Obviously this is still completely unconfirmed by anyone at UNC but WCHL(1360 AM) in Chapel Hill is reporting that John Bunting will resign, possibly as early as this weekend.
Unnamed but informed Administrative sources tell WCHL News that Head Coach John Bunting indicated that if the football team didn’t reverse its direction with a win in Charlottesville Thursday night, that he would spare the school the embarrassment of further losses and would offer his resignation by the end of the season – possible as early as this weekend.
Athletics Director Dick Baddour has said repeatedly that no decision would be made about Bunting’s tenure before the end of the season, but that does not preclude the coach and former linebacker from taking matters into his own hands.
He has a 25 and 41 win loss record overall, and still has more than 800 thousand dollars left on his contract.
Since WCHL is a news station first and foremost we have to assume they have very firm sources if they put this on the air. The only caveat I see is it appears to be a condition Bunting may have set before the UVa game and has not officially offered anything since the Tar Heels lost 23-0 in Charlottesville last night.
Carolina Watercooler appeared to be the first to post the news following the on-air annoucement and they also offer another small nugget:
Dick Baddour has stated all along that he wants to wait until the end of the season to announce anything about John Bunting’s future. However, the Board of Trustees recently went over Baddour’s head and made a decision (which they can do…they are the definition of "over his head," after all). The BOT made the decision that Bunting’s time at Carolina was over, the only question was when exactly a firing/resignation would be announced.
Now, this is all still very unconfirmed by UNC. However, I can see this being the case with the sudden flurry of media attention on the reality of Bunting being ousted as UNC's coach. I speculated that I thought the N&O was operating on something deeper than mere speculation when they published the two articles yesterday. Information leaks or tips to reporters are often used to soften the ground prior to making an annoucement and also could have been used to provide UNC adminsitration cover as they began quietly contacting desired coaches to see about their availablity.
Like I said, this is still unofficial, but it makes a lot of sense when taken together with the other things we have seen over the past two days.
The N&O has contacted John Bunting who has denied he is about to resign.
I still think the earlier N&O articles this week point to someone at UNC telling someone in the media something. I also do not think WCHL would rush out with an actual news piece unless that had something firm. Here are three theories on what is happening:
1. I think an influential person at UNC has tipped both the N&O(for the two articles yesterday) and WCHL in an effort to increase the pressure on Bunting and force his ouster sooner rather than later. And, let's be honest, this sort of thing happens all the time in politics. Strategic leaks are used to soften the ground or force someone to respond a certain way so it is not outside the realm of possibility. This would mean either WCHL is wrong in their report or that they have posted information about something Bunting said in confidence which is now being played as a promise to resign to benefit someone's agenda.
2. The WCHL article was based on a alleged statement Bunting made about resigning if they did not win at UVa. As I pointed out above, this may have actually happened before the game and since the game Bunting has not followed up on that condition. So in theory both parties could be right in that a source has outed Bunting's statement to WCHL making it look like he is going to resign and Bunting, who could have made the statement, has not actually followed up with a confirmation that will indeed be the case. Now that he has been asked point blank about it he is denying the report since he has not actually resign and could very well have changed his mind.
3. WCHL is just plain wrong. The N&O is just doing cutting edge journalism. And Tar Heel Fan just needs to go to bed.
At any rate this situation just got extremely messy. And for anyone who thought UNC could not botch another coaching change as badly as they did Matt Doherty's, I give you the John Bunting situation.
WCHL has amended their statement to include Bunting's denial of the original statement and any plans to resign.
The athletics department has spoken directly with Coach Bunting. He says that the report is absolutely not true. He says that he never said he would resign if the team lost to Virginia, and has not offered his resignation at all.
So, I don't know what to think. Looks like Bunting is staying put for now. I still think there are a lot coincidences between the N&O articles and this rumor but the official word now is no resignation.