UNC’s 4-1 start has blown the stench of the smoldering NCAA mess out to sea for most of the season, but a few things have bubbled up of late that serve to remind us the fires are still ablaze. Here are some quick notes of the week:
**Butch Davis made his first public media appearance since his firing and said his termination was a complete surprise. You don’t say?
Davis appeared on ESPNU’s “The Experts” with Anish Shroff and Jesse Palmer to do some guest analyst segments. Of course he was asked about the situation at UNC and not surprisingly, he does not agree with Holden Thorp’s decision to sack him. He also repeated the normal platitudes about how proud he was of his team’s response to adversity last season and how he regrets what happened.
Doesn’t sound like Davis will be on a large-scale image rehabilitation or vindication tour if his first public appearance is on ESPNU with Jesse Palmer, but nevertheless it is interesting to have at least some comment on the record.
** The list of university officials who will appear at the NCAA Committee on Infractions hearing on October 28 has been released, and to the shock of no one, Butch Davis will not be among those attending. This is not surprising as A) Davis is not named in the NOA; B) therefore there is nothing to be gained by him talking to the NCAA; and C) UNC wants to show some space between itself and Davis anyway.
** The NCAA probe has cost UNC over $300,000 in outside legal fees, plus untold man hours internally compiling responses to the NCAA and to the numerous public records requests. This figure does not include the proposed $50,000 fine that UNC self-imposed as a penalty to the NCAA.
** Inside Carolina received from former Board of Trustees chairman Bob Winston a copy of a letter he sent to Eddy Landreth in response to Landreth’s moonbat ravings about a conspiracy involving new BOT chair Wade Hargrove and a sinister plot to fire Butch Davis. Winston defends Hargrove as a man of integrity and says the BOT was well aware of the fact he was an attorney who had represented media organizations. Even though Landreth had already been discredited in that ridiculous theory, the fact that Winston, probably the biggest Butch-backer of all, essentially told Landreth to buzz off is telling.
** On a brighter note, the search for a new athletic director seems to be entering the home stretch. The search committee has interviewed a number of internal candidates but according to message board chatter, three outside candidates would seem to be the leaders at this point: Michigan State AD Mark Hollis; Dr. Brad Bates, AD at Miami of Ohio; and Tulsa AD Lawrence “Bubba” Cunningham. There has been some concern about the public nature of the search scaring away big names who might have been interested, but the apparent finalists all have solid credentials. If you have a premium Inside Carolina subscription, check out the fine work by Michelle Hillison on the AD candidates.