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Could Loose Lips Once Again Sink The Ship?

June 17, 2010

WRAL: The list is six for the N.C. State athletic director’s job

WRAL has learned through multiple sources that current Wolfpack Club executive director Bobby Purcell is among the six remaining candidates to become N.C. State’s next director of athletics.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t chancellor Woodson institute a very strict confidentiality policy regarding this search?:

Woodson, who urged the committee to keep the search confidential, started at N.C. State in January after previously holding the chancellor position at Purdue…

If that’s the case, then we start drawing some interesting conclusions:

  1. Since the WRAL report mentions “multiple sources,” either more than one committee member has been blabbing or a single member has told multiple non-committee-members, or;
  2. Since Bobby Purcell was confirmed to be one of the six, per WRAL, Purcell was one of the multiple sources and revealed how many other candidates he’s squaring off against, or;
  3. Since Charlie Cobb and Steven Ponder (per the TBJ) are no longer candidates, one or both of them found out that Bobby’s still in the running and that the number of total candidates is six, or;
  4. There’s someone either not on the committee nor in the running–perhaps someone at Parker Executive Search, or simply a secretary or meeting minutes logger–that blabbed.

Now, it seems unlikely that #3 is the case; that Cobb or Ponder would know how many candidates were named if finalists if they weren’t. You don’t typically tell a job applicant, “Sorry, but you didn’t make our final list of six.” Nor would they have been told who the six finalists were. It’s quite possible, I suppose, that Cobb and/or Ponder called Purcell once they received word that they were no longer in the running to ask Purcell if he still was in the running, and then blabbed. Purcell would likely know that he is, and could possibly know how many other folks he was going up against.

That brings me to my second possibility, and one that would be the most disappointing if true–that Purcell is the leak. It would be HIGHLY disappointing if, while in the running for his dream job–one that necessitates the need for secrecy and a poker face at times–Purcell were to let it be know that he was still in the running for the job and disclosed the exact number of opponents he faces. That would mean, quite frankly, that Purcell ISN’T ready for this job, and couldn’t be trusted to avoid the constant stream information from sources during a major hiring that made the basketball hire such a cluster-eff. As someone who likes the idea of Purcell as a candidate for the position, it would break my heart to learn that he can’t even make it through his OWN job search without divulging confidential info. Let’s hope this is not the case, because if it IS Purcell that leaked this info, I would have to think that would end his candidacy right then and there.

Scenarios #1 and #4 seem most likely.

When you form a search committee that large, with folks from so many different walks of life at the university, it’s seems entirely possible that one would leak this info. A lot of these folks likely haven’t been entrusted with information as sensitive as this and likely don’t understand just how damaging leaking this info could be. “So what if I gave them a number? And yeah, Purcell’s still in the running, but couldn’t everyone have guessed that?” They’ve also probably never been hounded by sports media before, looking for any crack in the “information dam” that might yield a juicy tidbit. It’s not easy to keep quiet under those circumstances, and frankly I doubt I could do it.

Scenario #4 also seems entirely plausible, as there are likely support staff milling about during these meetings that may hear or see something at could offer a news outlet clues. And as mentioned before, sometimes it’s not the person who saw or heard the info that’s the source; it’s a friend, coworker or confidant who ultimately shares the info with those on the outside.

My hope is that chancellor Woodson nips this leak in the bud, and quick. Simply firing said person or booting them from the committee could lead to more information getting divulged as said spurned employee/committee member feels free now to let-fly. So it must be done delicately (see why chancellor Woodson was so keen on hiring and firing experience?).

Woodson’s best recourse might be to simply accelerate the hiring timetable, within reason, to stay out in front of any further leaks. Proper vetting must take place above all else. But if a leak threatens the chances that we land a primary candidate, one who gets cold feet in fear of being identified, thereby risking their current job, it might be worth it to conduct all of the necessary interviews as soon as possible.

I have to hope that this is the last of the information leaked from this point on. If you’re on the committee, and presumably signed a confidentiality clause, then think long and hard about what other information you could or might share. If you’re an employee at State privy to this info, think about the consequences of your employer missing out on a home-run hire as a direct result of your blabbing. And for gosh sakes…don’t let it be you, Bobby Purcell. If it is, you’ve proven you don’t deserve the job.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. NoName permalink
    June 17, 2010 12:39 pm

    It appears that the TBJ talked to Ponder directly. He could be the “leak,” too. I thought that all committee members had to sign a confidentiality agreement to be on the committee.

  2. June 17, 2010 8:03 pm

    One, Bobby Purcell is a professional and would never undermine the process… Two, he has given his professional life to the betterment of NC State University… Finally, while you (and everyone else) are entitled to your opinion, but no one in the Wolfpack-nation can give one single reason Bobby Purcell in unqualified to lead the athletic department that we all (including BP), LOVE!

  3. packpigskinfan25 permalink
    June 20, 2010 1:34 pm

    Allen- I am pretty sure he stated that he liked the fact that Bobby might have a chance at the AD position.

    Given the scenarios (and I really do think you stated all the real possibilities) I would say its most likely #1 but I hope it is #4. I agree that if it was Bobby it would be heartbreaking. I am sure it is not though.

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