Thursday, September 30, 2010

New revelations make UNC's Davis sound like he's defending his job

North Carolina football coach Butch Davis is increasingly sounding like a coach defending his job, and he very well may be.

On Wednesday, UNC athletics director Dick Baddour again defended Davis when he spoke to the Raleigh Sports Club, telling the audience of several hundred Davis had his support.

But yet another revelation came out Thursday, with Yahoo! Sports detailing the financial ties between former UNC assistant John Blake and California agent Gary Wichard. Davis was on Taylor Zarzour’s “Sports Drive” show later Thursday, and Zarzour, to his credit, pushed the coach on the issue of whether he should have known about Blake’s ties to Wichard and whether he should have known players like Marvin Austin were visiting agents.

"In the past we haven't monitored where they've gone,” Davis said. “Kids have said 'I'm hanging around here, or I'm going with a particular player to his house,' so no one monitors," Davis told Sports Drive. "But we have already implemented as measures to try to improve some of the things so that we do know."

By Thursday afternoon, News & Observer columnist Caulton Tudor had seen enough. Posting to the paper’s website, Tudor wrote, “Butch Davis should resign as North Carolina’s football coach.”

All that led to a wild scene in Chapel Hill Thursday when Davis addressed the media, surrounded by reporters and photographers. Davis said he would not resign and again said he couldn't know all that his coaches and players were doing. He told reporters he plans "to be the head football coach here currently, and in the future," according to The News & Observer.

All this couldn’t come at a worse time for UNC, which is building an “academic excellence” center in a Kenan Stadium endzone and trying to raise funds from alumni. The endless process involving the student honor council, the Secretary of State’s office and the NCAA has only eroded fan patience with the program.

About the only good news for UNC was that safety Da'Norris Searcy was cleared to play Thursday and will compete for the first time Saturday at home against East Carolina.

Other than that, the news for Carolina is grim – and Davis’ status increasingly tenuous.

1 comment:

  1. I think it's a little early for Davis to resign but that ultimately may be what happens.

    I thought today's column by Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports was insightful. He ended his long column "Why the case vs. UNC matters," by saying this:

    "The North Carolina investigation isn’t even close to being completed, let alone ruled on, so predicting an outcome should come with an innocent-until-proven-guilty caveat. That said, this isn’t a typical NCAA case since the government is involved and it can compel people in the case to speak (a power the NCAA lacks). Blake’s attorney said he is cooperating fully. The truth is likely to come out here.

    "If UNC is guilty, the NCAA should be highly motivated to make an example of the Tar Heels’ program. It hits too close to home for anything but a significant response. The NCAA simply can’t tolerate coaches as runners. They need to use this case to at least attempt to scare people straight.

    "Does that mean the so-called 'Death Penalty?' No. Only one program, SMU football, has ever received that penalty. While its technically always on the table for the NCAA infractions committee, UNC is not a repeat offender, is said to be cooperating fully and may be able to place all blame on a single coach.

    "Significant sanctions, likely even harsher than applied to Southern California this year (30 lost scholarships, two-year bowl ban), would be called for though. UNC lacks the tradition and recruiting base of USC, which makes recovering from penalties difficult. So this could feel like a death penalty for the Tar Heels.

    "There just aren’t many reasonable defenses a school can make if the runner turns out to be on the university payroll, working out of the university offices, hand in hand with all the other coaches and athletic personnel.

    "That’s what makes the North Carolina case such a big deal. It has the chance to blow the lid off how agents recruit these budding millionaires and show that college sports isn’t as corrupt the public thinks it is.

    It’s worse."