Those dastardly Tar Heels are at it again! (Where “again” has been added for dramatic effect, which has been greatly diminished by this clarification.)
The News and Observer reports that for every trip short of the West Coast that UNC uses the same bus and driver — even when they fly! “Super” Dave Harder — who sounds like a pretty cool guy — has met UNC at every ACC destination, as well as “Syracuse (1,246 miles, round trip), St. Louis (1,603 miles) and New York (984 miles).”
In terms of obvious economics, this is actually a decent deal for UNC. It only costs about 10% more than arranging for local bus transportation, ensures that the team can return regardless of air travel snafus, and “provides a familiar routine when the Tar Heels are in unfamiliar territory.”
The less obvious economic costs — namely consuming vast amounts of additional petroleum to drive around an empty bus — are somewhat staggering, and I am sure that gas prices, if not ethics, will evntually eliminate this practice.
The best nugget in the story however, is that due to the threat of tornadoes after a Georgia Tech game last March, a frightened Tyler Hansbrough chose to take the bus with only Super Dave as company, while the rest of the team soared above the storm.