If Tennessee's Jimmy Cheek is as smart as a university chancellor should be, then he already has made a phone call to former UT athletic director Doug Dickey.
And if there was no answer, he should have hitched a ride on booster Jim Haslam's jet. Destination: Dickey's Florida driveway.
Although UT has received its Notice of Allegations from the NCAA, it still has months to respond. It won't appear before the NCAA Committee on Infractions until June. There's work to be done and headway to be made.
So whom are you going to call?
Don Bosch? Sorry, wrong number. The local attorney is your guy if a football player rendered a bar patron unconscious, put a sleeper hold on his girlfriend or stumbled into a cop while staggering down Cumberland Avenue in a drunken stupor.
This is more challenging. And it might be too challenging for current athletic director Mike Hamilton.
If you need an increase in donations or an administrative building refurbished, Hamilton is your man. But you can't expect him to steer the Vol Navy through these troubled waters. This demands a more experienced hand with a superior track record in crisis management.
That's Dickey, who successfully handled one NCAA run-in after another during his tenure as athletic director.
UT should at least offer him a job as a consultant. Pay him the money UT basketball coach Bruce Pearl had to forfeit for his involvement in this NCAA mess. If Dickey wants a title, give it to him. If he wants his old job back, give him that, too. Tell him he only has to come to Knoxville when the NCAA is in town.
What have you got to lose? The guy is golden with the NCAA.
In 1987, Sport Magazine published a story quoting former players as saying they were rewarded with more than scholarships for their contributions to UT football. The players later claimed they were misquoted, the NCAA signed off on the school's in-house investigation, and the whole thing went away.
In the 1990s, there was a summer football "tryout camp" scandal, a phone-fraud scandal and an academic scandal. Yet the Vols were never deemed unfit for bowls or television. They didn't even have to forfeit a game.
UT fans shouldn't concern themselves with the hows or whys of those outcomes. They should just appreciate the bottom line.
You can't be so sure about the bottom line this time. There's nothing on Hamilton's resume to inspire the same sort of confidence. Instead, his administrative era will be remembered for the charges leveled against the football and basketball programs under the direction of coaches he hired. If both suffer serious sanctions from the NCAA, he should be fired.
But that's getting ahead of the process. There's still time for another preemptive strike.
Based on how the allegations letter reads, UT already has helped itself in football. Former football coach Lane Kiffin, who left UT for the head-coaching job at Southern California, bears the brunt of the charges, which the NCAA was considerate enough to forward to his new employer.
The Vols now benefit from his leaving, though I doubt fans will be motivated to compose thank-you-Lane notes. At least, they might be less inclined to send him death threats.
Basketball is a different matter. Of all the allegations, none resonates more with the NCAA than Pearl lying to its investigators.
UT announced in September that it was reducing the coach's pay by $1.5 million over five years and prohibited him from participating in off-campus recruiting for a year.
That's significant if you're planning your annual family budget. However, in the NCAA's eyes, it probably didn't punish the program sufficiently, which might explain why SEC commissioner Mike Slive suspended Pearl for eight SEC games.
If the Vols really want to gain favor with the NCAA, they would be wise to self-impose further sanctions. They could take away a basketball scholarship for each of the next two or three years and - if they're intent on keeping Pearl as their coach - suspend him for December.
My only other advice: Talk to Doug Dickey.
John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at http//twitter.com/johnadamskns