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Adam Gold

Allegations beg the question of blame

Posted June 22, 2011

— Nine major violations.

The NCAA’s long-awaited Notice of Allegations arrived in the mail Tuesday in Chapel Hill and the nuts and bolts of it is that the University of North Carolina is accused of committing nine major violations. Most of the wrong-doing we already knew about, but there’s always something lurking beneath the surface that adds an additional layer to the story. Tucked into the last of the violations, included in the “failure to monitor” category, is the under-the-radar, Columbus-like charge that the school knew of possible violations concerning impermissable benefits and did not “adequately follow up on information provided by (the student-athlete)”.

Did someone not know whom to call?

The tutor story, we knew. Jennifer Wiley, a former employee of both the university AND Butch Davis’ family, was accused of doing classwork, providing transportation and paying the parking fines for as many as nine different players totalling nearly $1,800. She also refused to cooperate with the NCAA and the University, which made things more difficult for both parties.

We also knew about the gifts and trips and parties that were connected to prominent NFL agents and agencies in which as many as seven players received benefits worth more than $27,000. Among the people accused of providing those benefits were former players Hakeem Nicks, Kentwan Balmer and Chris Hawkins – the latter classified as an agent by the NCAA. Also cited were prominant NFL agents, including Michael Katz, Director of Marketing & Client Services for Rosenhaus Sports and longtime NFL agent Gary Wichard – who passed away in March after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

And, while we also knew of the involvement of John Blake, the defensive line coach and associate head coach under Butch Davis, it bears repeating his deep involvement on many fronts that are central to the problems faced by UNC.

Blake long-denied ever working for Gary Wichard’s Pro Tect Management in spite of evidence that linked him financially and professionally to that company. It was ultimately discovered that Blake, during his employment at North Carolina, still possessed a PTM company credit card. He lied to the university about this connection, he provided “false and misleading information” to the NCAA during the investigation, and was accused of trying to steer players to Wichard’s management group.

Somehow, with nine major violations, the head football coach has escaped responsibility. Butch Davis feels terrible that this happened, “on my watch”, and says that correcting the problems is a mission that he takes, “very seriously.” And, I’m sure he’s being sincere, just as I know athleteic director Dick Baddour is when he noted the university’s disappointment to be in this position. Chancellor Holden Thorp echoed those same sentiments Tuesday, and went on to say that they’ll, “emerge with a stronger athletics program and restore confidence in Carolina football.”

White noise, fellas.

Players suffered, led by those that never again wore the uniform. John Blake was fired – with pay, for reasons we can only assume were to ward off any legal proceedings to collect monies he really didn’t deserve. And, the school forfeited their reputation as a place that does things “the Carolina Way”.

But, the man who hired Blake, known throughout the coaching industry as a recruiter who didn’t just push the envelope of the NCAA rule book but ignored it all together. The head coach, Butch Davis, has not only been absent of any university punishment, but he’s been hailed as the solution to the problem. In all fairness, Davis did come up with idea for the “sign-out sheet”, so we’re on the right path.

Davis has known Blake for more than 30 years. For a huge chunk of that they coached together. Is someone trying to tell us sorry? Is the University trying to tell us that they don’t believe that Davis knew what the entire coaching community knew, that Blake didn’t follow the rules? Please, stop insulting our collective intelligence.

Did Davis know how Blake was doing what he was doing? Did Davis know that Blake was on the payroll of a longtime NFL agent and was charged with directing players – including some he didn’t actually coach – towards that agency? Did Davis know about the parties and the jewelery and the trips that were lavished on his future NFL star players? I’m sure the answer to those questions is “no” across the board.

But, that makes Davis even more responsible the way I see it. He hired Blake, with no regard for the reputation he brought with him to Chapel Hill. Isn’t that enough to warrant disciplinary action by the school that goes beyond not “rewarding” Davis with a contract extension and a raise that he didn’t deserve in the first place? I guess not.

The University of North Carolina pushed all their chips to the middle of the table last fall when they vociferously backed Davis and called him the right man to see us through these difficult times. If Davis was going to be fired, they’d have done so at the end of the season, before he nearly screwed up the 2-minute drill that helped defeat Tennessee in the Music City Bowl.

No, Davis is now part of the furniture at Kenan Stadium, there for the duration. It leads me to believe that Mr. Baddour and Chancellor Thorp aren’t really calling the shots. Because, as Carolina lifers, they know better than to allow the school’s reputation to take this kind of a hit without the person responsible taking the blame. To me, the strings are being pulled by the wallets of big money boosters who only want to compete at the highest possible level in football as though that’s the most important part of life at the University of North Carolina.

What it brought to Chapel Hill was nine major violations.

Or, one more than the most wins Butch Davis has registered in any of the four seasons with the Tar Heels.

68 Comments

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  • OGE Jun 27, 4:28 p.m.

    I wonder if I'll be able to leave work @ 5 today only to hear Adam and Joe whine about Butch Davis still having his job?

  • NoDumpingThePuck Jun 26, 11:35 p.m.

    Time for the UNC System Board of Governors to get involved. Athletic Boosters who aren't even... View More

    — Posted by tarheelraj

    No one could have state it any better. This whole thing is a complete and utter disgrace to the UNC system that affects more than just one school. The substance behind my statement is that there were administrators involved here. The ONLY reason Davis still has his job is that Baddour and Thorp had prior knowledge of these violations. That is why Davis was not named in the NCAA report. If Davis goes down, they all go down. Guys, this one goes very deep and it will take more than an "internal investigation" to clean this up. This has nothing to do with which team you pull for, rather it is all about upholding the excellent standards set by all those that came before this group.

  • early exit Roy Jun 25, 12:57 p.m.

    The best or maybe the only way to stop the cheating in college sports is make the violations/penalties follow the coach. If the coach is fired due to cheating or scandals the school he is currently coaching will get the same punishment as the school that is dumb enough to hire that coach. Even if the coach isn't implicated or dumb like butch.

  • early exit Roy Jun 25, 12:51 p.m.

    Adam knows as well as everyone else the reason the tutor isn't cooperating. She was paid off by unc and given a high paid attorney to keep her mouth shut. They did the same thing to Blake. But Blake isn't smart enough to ask for more than 75K. They didn't have to pay Blake because of the violations. So this is hush money. I think the main reason butchie is still around is he knows too much about improprieties, say mybe in baseball and basketball. Rumor has the good baseball player that left a few months back was involved with the tutor and probably Little was when he was on the basketball team. I am willing to bet if butch is terminated, even because of violations unc will pay him hush money even though they wouldn't have to. My close friend that works at unc in a certain dept. that kn ows what is going on still says unc is scared to death all of this will eventually get out. Just remember 216!!

  • ER Tar Heel Jun 25, 8:51 a.m.

    Apparently there are folks that know exactly what all of their closest friends and family are doing every single second of every day, and nothing ever gets withheld from them. And nothing ever happens behind their back that they know nothing about. Didn't even know that was possible.

  • Ken D. Jun 25, 8:47 a.m.

    Why have we not heard from ACC Commissioner John Swofford? I would think this would be a perfect... View More

    — Posted by jbboone

    Because he would likely be fired by his twelve bosses if he did. Swofford has no more need to demonstrate that he is impartial than any other commissioner. Only ABCers think he favors Carolina.

  • jbboone Jun 24, 4:17 p.m.

    Why have we not heard from ACC Commissioner John Swofford? I would think this would be a perfect opportunity to demonstrate that he has cut his light blue ties to Chapel Hill.

  • Miscellaneous Jun 24, 3:53 p.m.

    Goldie... stirring the pot. Blake was a UNC official, who knew that there was problems. Could this be as simple as the 'failure to monitor' is again, Blake's failure, and not your (political) play to railroad Davis?

  • RochesterRedWolf Jun 24, 3:51 p.m.

    Davis has a couple of other clock mismanagement mishaps. What was it... 2 years ago in Charlottesville where a little ole time out would have probably got the heels a win, but no, Davis snatched victory from the jaws of defeat once again. There's more, but the walmart fans would drown out the real unc fans, so no point in continuing. I know how this board works.

    The question is: What does a near last-minute clock management error have to do with anything?... View More

    It wasn't "a random tangent" at all, cutcliff, just a columnist driving home a point... View More

    — Posted by NCSU72

  • NCSU72 Jun 24, 3:15 p.m.

    The question is: What does a near last-minute clock management error have to do with anything?... View More

    It wasn't "a random tangent" at all, cutcliff, just a columnist driving home a point -- UNC chose to keep Davis. At any other university he wouldn't have been around for the bowl game and the clock management mishap. Tressel's gone because his players got free tattoos and cash from the owner of a tattoo parlor. He said he was resigning because "the ongoing investigations and drumbeat of almost daily, sordid revelations were a "distraction" to the university and that he was stepping down 'for the greater good of our school'."

    Davis did not step down and was coaching the bowl game. Now, sadly, TJ Yates' game saving efforts and subsequent bowl victory will probably be taken away by the NCAA. Davis' lack of control over the football program will cost true student/athletes like Yates -- that's the saddest part of all.

    Gold just used the bowl game scenario to make his point in a well written piece. Davis shouldn't have been in TN to make the clock mistake.

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