Included in Andy Staples’ sad but true guide to avoiding NCAA sanctions is this gem:
5. Plausible deniability is your greatest ally
Butch Davis’ name doesn’t appear in the NCAA’s notice of allegations against North Carolina despite what appears to be widespread corruption in the football program. That’s because Davis — as far as we know — built enough walls to keep himself from getting tarred. Young assistants, remember this and you’ll go far. The head coach never meets the money guy. He never meets the handler. He never meets the agent runners. All business is conducted through assistants and lower-level employees. That way, no one can count phone calls between the coach and the handler on phone lines whose records are public because of state open records laws. We know exactly how many times Tressel corresponded with Terrelle Pryor’s handler, Ted Sarniak, and we know exactly how many times Oregon’s Kelly called or texted Lyles. Head coaches, whatever you do, DON’T SEND THE HANDLER A HANDWRITTEN NOTE THANKING HIM FOR “ORCHESTRATING” SOMETHING. I’m looking at you, Chip Kelly. Follow this rule, and you can escape a scandal by sacrificing an assistant or an athletic department employee. Just remember the sacrificial lambs always must get paid…
Remember, institutional cluelessness isn’t always a state of mind. Sometimes it’s a deliberate strategy. Not that we should expect the NCAA to be able to tell the difference.