Butch Davis was fired today by UNC's Chancellor Holden Thorp, the UNC Trustees and UNC Athletic Director Dick Baddour. The shock of this firing will linger for a very long time. The taint that it has and will cause will be with UNC for a very long time. And the main culprit is UNC's Chancellor Thorp.
Thorp has begun what can only be described as the worst effort in college history to deflect blame from the true culprits of the NCAA investigation. The academics themselves, starting with Thorp and his interface for the college sports world Athletic Director Dick Baddour.
Leave aside the fact that nothing unearthed so far showed Butch Davis was involved in the slightest degree with any of the problems unearthed by the NCAA.
Focus instead on the total lack of integrity, the completely false support provided to Davis by Thorp and Baddour throughout the process, and the two-faced, inside dealing that must have taken place behind closed doors between UNC's trustees, Thorp and Baddour on Wednesday night.
Finding UNC under increasing pressure because of the many failures of the academic side of UNC, from a cheating tutor to the complete failure to identify any of the massive plagiarism in the article that deep-sixed UNC football star Michael McAdoo, Chancellor Thorp fires Davis to ensure "academic integrity."
"Our academic integrity is paramount, and we must work diligently to protect it," Thorp said in a statement. "The only way to move forward and put this behind us is to make a change."
Sorry, Chancellor. Academic integrity suffered because of the fact that UNC does not even employ freely available software to determine if plagiarism has occurred in any student's work.
It does not allow its student court to investigate claims apart from those initially brought before it. Its own professors often do not bother to investigate or bring claims against students. Its tutors are poorly monitored—and any number of other sins visited on UNC not by Davis but by the academics themselves.
Thorp and the Trustees have the audacity to claim that these problems were caused by Butch Davis? That by firing Butch Davis UNC is regaining its academic integrity and moving forward?
"The last 13 months have been some of the most difficult that anyone associated with the athletic department and football program have dealt with," Baddour added. "At this time, a decision has been made to change the leadership of the football program to help the entire university community move forward."
Help the entire university community move forward? Firing Davis will help UNC cleanse itself? Firing a man who is neither cited by or contended to have had anything to do with the violations cited by the NCAA is somehow going to cleanse UNC of its problems on the academic side?
There will be no moving forward from what Thorp has wrought. UNC football is dead. It has been returned to the past. Recruiting is dead. There will be no great coach coming. No coach who can replace Davis. No satisfactory outcome. And no integrity.
Meanwhile, Davis will be paid millions under his contract. As far as we know, he has done no wrong and is thus entitled to payment in full. Millions is still not a small number.
David deserves to be paid the full amount due under the contract. All he did is bring back UNC football to some respectability. And that is gone too.
In the end, Thorp and his band of Trustees are far worse than Davis and his football program.They are the ones responsible for academic integrity. They put the mechanisms in place to ensure integrity. And their mechanisms failed.
The Trustees and Thorp are full of self-righteousness. Yet Baddour and Thorp were unable or unwilling to confess their own sins. The absolute lack of integrity that they both have had in running programs that are neither modern or properly managed will continue as long as they are part of UNC.
Can it be long before Baddour and Thorp go?