Bunting says UNC needs to 'pick it up'

From staff reportsJanuary 6, 2011 

In strongly worded comments, former North Carolina football coach John Bunting said in a radio interview Thursday that the athletics staff at the school needs to "pick it up" in light of the NCAA's investigation of the football program.

Since July, the NCAA has been investigating impermissible benefits and academic misconduct on the Tar Heel football team. Fourteen players missed at least one game, and seven missed the entire season. The NCAA has not announced whether there will be penalties for the school.

Bunting was fired and replaced following the 2006 season by current coach Butch Davis. On 99.9 The Fan in Raleigh, host Adam Gold asked Bunting how he felt about the situation. Bunting's reply is 5 minutes, 30 seconds into this file:

"I don’t feel good about it at all," Bunting said. "Those are things that we prided ourselves in, in the six years that I was there, and I think every other coach that’s been there has prided themselves, and every other coach in every sport has felt the same way. But it is what it is, and that’s a great cliché to use at this point in time. They’ve got to go forward.

"Hopefully they learn from all this, those people who either may have been asleep at the wheel or those who are in charge. They need to pick it up. And hopefully they’ll grow from this. I’m a big, big believer in turning bad into good. So maybe some good things can happen because of a very, very serious situation."

Bunting was asked about recent NCAA investigations in general at schools such as Ohio State, Auburn and Michigan, where the penalties have been criticized by many fans and media members as being too soft.

"I’m absolutely amazed at what the NCAA’s stance has been on all kinds of these different cases. Why investigate if you’re not going to take a hard stand on these issues? Because it’s setting a bad precedent. It’s setting a bad example for what we Americans have come to believe is true.

"Greed and doing things wrong and pushing the envelope beyond the rules to make things more successful, and that’s not the right thing to do. They’ve got to come to grips with some of this stuff and really start to quit slapping people on the wrist and make things happen."

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