So the question arises. If a player is caught cheating and put on probation by the honor court with the added sanction of not being able to represent UNC on the field should they be able to redshirt and essentially get the season back?
UNC apparently thinks so and Dick Baddour defends the decision. WTVD's Mark Armstrong has the quote via Twitter.
Dick Baddour on using redshirts for Honor Court casualties: "Let's talk about the Honor System in general. When they find that someone is guilty of academic misconduct they have various options they can follow. So there are hundreds of students that are not able to represent the university for a particular time period but then can come back and represent the university and that is normal. That's not abnormal that is normal for that to happen so there's nothing unusual about that and there's no reason why a student-athlete shouldn't have the same right or protection."
Now, I am quite certain the great arbiters of The Carolina Way i.e ABCers will be along to tell us what an egregious violation this is. My response to that would be to ask them if it was their school don't they think it would be pretty much done the same way? As for Baddour's point, he is correct. If a regular student can come back from academic suspension or probation and still represent to school why not an athlete? Doesn't the NCAA constantly tell us how student-athletes should be equal to regular students? This should be the same thing right?
Of course one could argue they are actually short circuiting the punishment but not really. The punishment as meted out by the honor court is probation and while on probation the player in question cannot represent the school. It is not a suspension. The players are not being required to miss X number of games as Deunta Williams and Kendric Burney have done for NCAA violations. It should be noted no one is talking about Burney redshirting even though he has missed more games than Ryan Houston.[Correction: Burney is in his fifth year which I forgot between yesterday and today apparently. He already used his redshirt.] The NCAA suspension precludes the possibility of a redshirt since a player would still have to sit the games he was suspended. The honor court punishment does not work that way and it is perfectly legitimate for these players to take the year of eligibility available to them and play again once they served their probation. As long as a player's NCAA eligibility is not affected there should be no issue with a player availing themselves of the redshirt.
Also, I am not buying the notion that the redshirt opportunity means they are not being punished. They are. They have to sit a season and not play. For anyone who has played a sport at a high level, sitting out of live action matters. The players were put on probation and unlike regular students, their crimes are known to the world. Because of the media attention given this case and the acknowledgement by UNC that these remaining cases are all academic related, when a player is declared out for the season after a scheduled honor court meeting everyone knows what happened. The privacy protections afforded regular students get circumvented here. I do not want to make these guys sound like victims when they clearly created their own mess. However, the idea the redshirt year somehow cancels out the other aspects of their penalties is patently ridiculous in my mind.
And, no, UNC should not keep them from playing to make a point. They went through the honor court process and were punished like any other student. To do anything else would be acting outside the intent of the NCAA.