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North Carolina

UNC president, Board of Governors throw support behind Chancellor Thorp

Posted August 12, 2011

— University of North Carolina President Tom Ross and the UNC Board of Governors released a statement Friday morning indicating that UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp has their full backing.

The UNC football program is in the latter stages of an NCAA investigation that has extended into inappropriate dealings with agents involving players and coaches, improper benefits and academic fraud and plagiarism. In all, the UNC football program faces nine major violations and will go in front of an NCAA Committee on Infractions on Oct. 28.

The combination of academic fraud and subsequent revelations of plagiarism, along with the untimely firing of head football coach Butch Davis just a couple weeks before the start of fall practices, have put Thorp at the center of criticism from both the academic and athletic supporters of UNC.

UNC officials confirmed Friday that in addition to a multitude of emails expressing displeasure, at least one threat has been made against Thorp in the wake of the Davis firing. The threat was taken seriously enough that police investigated.

The threat reads in part, "You never know what someone will do with their backs to the wall. I would be willing to bet some harm might come to Thorp."

Thorp has received support emails as well in recent weeks and continues to get support from the UNC System

“We are well aware that there are some alumni and other friends of UNC-Chapel Hill who strongly support the decision to make a coaching change, some who vehemently oppose it and others who support the decision, but not its timing,” the statement read. “We also know that making difficult and unpopular decisions comes with the job of being a university chancellor and that Chancellor Thorp is committed to doing everything possible to maintain both academic integrity and athletic success at Carolina. We are confident the two can co-exist.

“We are also confident that the many positive initiatives and innovations being carried out under (Chancellor Thorp’s) leadership will ensure that UNC-Chapel Hill remains one of America’s premier public universities,” the statement concluded.

On the same day a press conference was held to formally announce the dismissal of Davis, Director of Athletics Dick Baddour announced that he would step down and a search for a replacement would begin immediately. A 12-person committee has since been formed to replace Baddour, who held the position for 14 years and has worked for the school in some capacity for the last 45 years.

Last week, Thorp self-reported a secondary NCAA violation for addressing the status of a recruit. The violation will most likely not result in any serious repercussions, but it had many fans in the athletic realm saying that the chancellor was in over his head and questioned his understanding of the NCAA rulebook.

Thorp was in Indianapolis Tuesday and Wednesday for meetings with NCAA President Mark Emmert. Officials said after the meetings that the rulebook was too complicated and would be re-examined.

UNC has until Sept. 19 to respond to a {{a href="document=1"}}Notice of Allegations{{/a}} handed down from the NCAA. Thorp said Thursday that they will use the full time allotted to respond but do not intend to ask for an extension.

The nine allegations against the UNC football program as outlined in a letter from the NCAA are:

• Allegations against former assistant coach John Blake (3):

- unethical conduct for providing false and misleading information to the NCAA enforcement staff and to the institution and for failure to cooperate with the investigation.
- marketed athletic abilities of student-athletes to agent Gary Wichard
- received outside income that he did not report to the institution

• Allegations against alumna Jennifer Wiley (2):

- unethical conduct for refusing to provide information to the NCAA enforcement staff and to the institution
- provided extra benefits to student-athletes in the form of travel and parking expenses and tutoring

• Allegations of academic fraud against student-athletes and the tutor

• Allegations that student-athletes received preferential treatment and accepted impermissible benefits

• Allegations against a former student-athlete for unethical conduct

• Failure by the institution to adequately monitor the conduct of Chris Hawkins, an individual triggering NCAA agent legislation; the social media activity of the football team for a period in 2010; and possible extra benefits to a student-athlete triggered by agent legislation.

Fourteen players missed some or all of the games played in the 2010 season. The NCAA declared two of them, receiver Greg Little and defensive end Robert Quinn, permanently ineligible, and UNC kicked a third, defensive tackle Marvin Austin, off the team.

Would-be senior Michael McAdoo was later found to have plagiarized a paper after he had filed a lawsuit to regain eligibility for his final season. A judge denied an injunction that would have allowed him to return to the field. McAdoo has been ruled eligible to join the NFL Supplemental Draft on Aug. 17.

78 Comments

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  • chuck2 Aug 14, 4:29 p.m.

    I think Thorp should move over to the Plantation. I think he would fit in very well with the folks from New Jersey and their football way of life.

  • Hokies94 Aug 13, 4:10 p.m.

    Thorp needs to be more assertive in his interviews to make more people believe in him. He needs people that will give him some constructive criticism. Be the man with convictions and show some action.

  • ciscopack Aug 13, 10:47 a.m.

    Clowns to the left of me and jokers to the right....in the 17 member institution UNC System, the 35 member Board of Governors is led by over 50% UNC-Chapel Hill graduates. It's not a system wide epidemic....look in the old well.

  • Proud 2 B A Mom Aug 13, 10:27 a.m.

    BlueDevilFan - If he had provided the proper oversight and did his job as head of that... View More

    — Posted by Proud 2 B A Mom

    Would you mind naming what "department" you think he was the head of? English Department, Math... View More

    — Posted by Incognito

    He was the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for whom Jennifer Wiley (tutor in question)... View More

    — Posted by Proud 2 B A Mom

    Great, so you are aware of Thorp's background. Then you might also be familiar with the fact... View More

    — Posted by Incognito

    Unless you know for sure that I am upset over Butch Davis being fired, don't assume that I am. I am in support of Butch Davis being let go. I don't support the circumstances around it or the 13 month wait, or the timing of 8 days prior to start of practice. I don't think that was fair to the honest student athletes that are the victims of this. I just think it is also time for Thorp to step up and own up to his responsibilities. If Butch is accountable for a player sending information over Twitter, how is Thorp not accountable for someone under his ultimate charge responsible for their actions. Seems to me it is comparing apples to apples. I feel all involved should be held to the same standard. Oh, by the way -- I hope Withers is a HUGE success in his Head Coach position and shows Thorp and the BoG that student athletes and football players do not deserve to be "de-emphasized".

  • FAN72 Aug 13, 7:39 a.m.

    Baddour didn't fire him because he knew that was not the right thing to do. He had been around... View More

    — Posted by rcox

    Parents do not get paid to supervise they children. I have a feeling that there are some posters who wouldn't mind being fired as a parent of unruly kids for $2.7 milllion!

  • GhostofSmitty Aug 13, 2:06 a.m.

    Fifty years ago during the basketball scandals and decision to end the Dixie Classic brought... View More

    — Posted by unc70

    Good Stuff. You have some "hash marks" if you were around to see the end of the Dixie Classic. Yep, remember Jesse making political hay out of the times. Tar Heels always come through it, don't they!

  • GhostofSmitty Aug 13, 2:02 a.m.

    He was a bit young and inexperienced to navigate this issue, however, now that we're moving... View More

    — Posted by 4tarheels

    True that. A very strong AD. Eric Hyman! They need to get the AD hire done PDQ.

    — Posted by GhostofSmitty

    Smitty, Hyman got a big, fat pay raise recently, just to insure he wouldn't jump ship back to... View More

    — Posted by tommybrownnc

    I know, but I think they will pony the money up for him, or anyone esle of that ilk. At SC he has a football program not as solid as the Heels IMHO, and UNC gives him winners in Basketball and Baseball as well as many other sports like Soccer that SC does not. Roy did not leave Kansas for money.

  • rcox Aug 13, 12:32 a.m.

    Baddour didn't fire him because he knew that was not the right thing to do. He had been around the program and knew what was going on. He knew this was the man that could turn things around just like he did at Miami. Butch was going to the hearing even though he was not mentioned in any allegations. Baddour thought that these players had been through enough last year and if not for Butch it could have been a 1-11 season and he didn't think these kids deserved a second year of turmoil. Thorp supported Butch all the way and let him without just cause so he still has to pay him. I think that it was a class act on Baddour's part to announce his resignation the same day. Thorp is a liar by saying Butch was safe and Baddour said that it would be the last change in football for a long time. Thorp lied to Butch to donors and to season ticket holders he waited until all that money was in with everyone expecting Butch to be the head coach. You can ask former players such as Mark Paschal and they will tell you that Butch preached education first by going to class and he also told them that they represented the University on the field or on Franklin St. on a Thursday night but a few players decided to be selfish and worry about themselves first and team second. I am a parent and if your kid tells you he or she is going to the movie but end at a party instead how would you know. Would you be fired as a parent no. But we are supposed to support a liar i don't think so.

  • GoLower Aug 13, 12:15 a.m.

    WOOOOOOT!!!

    Go HEELS!!!

    #HEELBLOOD!!!

  • tommybrownnc Aug 12, 10:50 p.m.

    He was a bit young and inexperienced to navigate this issue, however, now that we're moving... View More

    — Posted by 4tarheels

    True that. A very strong AD. Eric Hyman! They need to get the AD hire done PDQ.

    — Posted by GhostofSmitty

    Smitty, Hyman got a big, fat pay raise recently, just to insure he wouldn't jump ship back to UNC. Heckava way to suddenly become more valuable without trying huh?

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