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UNC's AD Search Zeroes In

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Top candidate.

WRAL is reporting that UNC's search for a new AD has now focused on current South Carolina AD Eric Hyman.

The committee in charge of searching for a new athletic director at North Carolina met for two and a half hours Tuesday afternoon.

The committee is shortening the list of possible candidates to replace current athletic director Dick Baddour. Baddour asked a committee to begin looking for his replacement on July 28.

WRAL has learned that North Carolina's primary candidate is South Carolina athletic director Eric Hyman. Sources in Chapel Hill and Columbia, SC told WRAL there is mutual interest after conversations between Hyman and UNC this past weekend.

It was speculated when UNC began its search that Hyman was on the short list but in early August South Carolina moved to give him a $75,000 raise. After that, Hyman was largely considered off the table where UNC was concerned. Apparently that was not the case and with good reason. Hyman played football at UNC where he was a first team All-ACC defensive tackle in 1972. His wife is a North Carolina native and graduate of UNC. It is no surprise Hyman would be interested in returning to Chapel Hill as AD, especially at a time when the football program sits at a crossroads. If UNC hired Hyman it would answer the Deems Mays of the world who are convinced Holden Thorp is screwing the program over.

There is one slight hitch if you can call it that. On Monday when UNC was releasing its response to the NCAA notice of allegations, South Carolina received their own NOA from the NCAA. The charges against South Carolina involve football players and members of the men and women's track team receiving discounted rates at a local hotel. In addition the NCAA charged a "representative of the institution's athletic interests" with "impermissible recruiting inducements" and threw in "failure to monitor" for good measure. The total of improper benefits was $47,000.

Since Hyman appears to be on the very short list for UNC's AD job the question is how exactly South Carolina's NCAA violations on Hyman's watch will play in terms of perception. UNC is at a point where the one named assistant in the NOA has resigned, the head coach who wasn't named in the NOA has been fired, the tutor is hiding out somewhere in Durham and the AD is ready to retire. The football team is being run by an interim coach who probably won't get the job. By the time the NCAA is ready to finalize its report, everyone associated with this whole ordeal might be gone constituting about as clean a slate as you could hope for moving forward. Since Hyman was AD at South Carolina while they had their own brush with the NCAA, you obviously run into a perception issue. UNC would be ushering out one AD under which NCAA issues occurred and bringing in another who experienced the same problem at his last job.

I am not saying Hyman is damaged goods or even responsible for the allegations South Carolina is facing. In fact, Dick Baddour has largely been absolved of blame in UNC's mess(except for Eddy Landreth but he is a hack) because it is clear certain individuals made poor decisions.  Baddour is resigning mainly because he cannot hire the next football coach not so much for the NCAA issues. Hyman would likely be viewed in the same light assuming there is nothing in the South Carolina allegations which are tied directly to him. Barring that, South Carolina's issues will be about athletes making poor choices not anything Hyman did or didn't do. Yes, the failure to monitor charge hurts some because that speaks more to the athletic department in general for which Hyman is responsible. However I would guess that this is nothing more than a bump in the road and a PR one at that which only ABCers will make a big deal about.

If it is indeed Hyman, this would be a big get for UNC in an AD search that could have gone terrible awry. For now we wait and see if it actually happens.