Can Football Sactions Affect UNC Basketball?

North Carolina Men's College Basketball James McAdoo

Can Football Sanctions Affect UNC Basketball?

I wish there was a study done on what affect NCAA sanctions and penalties have on a college’s athletic department. I don’t mean directly; obviously Penn State football is having trouble recruiting. But, for example, what about Penn State’s other sports, the ones not even involved with the infractions?

This past season, North Carolina football got in some hot water with the NCAA, stemming from the Butch Davis era earlier this decade. Violations included athletes receiving money, athletes having access to agents, tutors completing work for athletes, ineligible athletes playing in games and people not cooperating with the investigation. After Davis was fired, but before UNC took the field this year, the gauntlet was laid: banned from the postseason for the 2012 year, and put on three year probation. Isolated from the specifics and the affect on the future of the football program, it is interesting to think about whether this has any influence on other sports programs at the university.

Does the Butch Davis/football saga have any bearing on the basketball team? Will Roy Williams’ recruitment and the team’s performance struggle at all because of the unpleasantness going on around them? It can’t possibly help. It is, at the very least, just another distraction to a group of players already with a lot to prove this season. If they are forced to address questions or taunting about the other program at their school, there is some effect. But it could even be deeper than that. Shining a bad light on a university darkens all programs. If a young kid is choosing between a squeaky clean competitor (if those even exist) and UNC, they might rather play for the peer even if Roy Williams was not responsible for the penalties for football. Just as if a family member was arrested or got into legal trouble, it makes you look bad, almost guilty by association.

That is not to say it should affect the Tar Heels on the basketball court. Their roster for this season is already set; all the freshman recruits are already on campus and ready to go. The 2012-2013 basketball team has no postseason ban and they will clearly make a postseason tournament. It is just interesting to consider how widespread of an affect an NCAA hunt can have on a program.


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