As cynical butt-covering moves go, North Carolina’s decision to part ways with Butch Davis during the week after ACC Media Days concluded (who needs that pesky media scrutiny, anyway?) and before fall practice starts (as Tony Barnhart put it, “North Carolina has decided to get out of the football business for a while”) ranks right up there with Michael Adams’ and Vince Dooley’s decision to sacrifice the Georgia men’s basketball team’s postseason in the wake of the Jim Harrick scandal.
Matt Hayes has it right. This is a call that was inevitable as soon as the NCAA became Ohio State’s enabler by allowing that school to pin the entire problem on its head coach. It’s the path that Tennessee is taking, as well. In Mark Emmert’s world, it’s all about plausible deniability for the administrators and tough luck for those kids who actually played by the rules only to get burned when it turns out that the head coach they trusted didn’t.
At this point, any athletic director with half a brain is going to set up a firewall between himself and the head coach. Oh, sure, there will be any number of compliance people who will be sent around wagging fingers at coaches about following regulations. But there will also be plenty of blind eyes turned to what those coaches are doing when the compliance folks aren’t in the room with them. So when the shit inevitably hits the fan, those ADs and the presidents they work for can blink their eyes vapidly at the NCAA investigators, claim they had no idea what was going on and swear they’ll get rid of the rogue bad apple. And it’ll work.
Nice system you got there, NCAA.