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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Can Butch Davis Claim Ignorance to Agent, Pay, and Tutor Charges?

So far, the answer is yes. That’s exactly what the North Carolina coach is doing in the face of several incriminating issues.

First, a few players from the program were being investigated for accepting improper benefits from agents (essentially traveling on their dime). Then it was alleged that an academic tutor was writing papers for some of the Tar Heels football players. Most recently Yahoo! Sports proved that one of Davis’ assistant coaches (who resigned nearly a month ago) was essentially a runner for an NFL agent.

Despite the mounting evidence against the Tar Heels program and players, the school is standing by the head coach. A.D. Dick Baddour made this curious statement, believing that Butch Davis “did not know of these things, that there were not signs of these things. I don’t believe he ignored things, so I think it’s really hard to know about these kinds of things without there being some hints around. And I acknowledge that in retrospect, there are some questions that we could have been asking, and we will ask.”

I might buy the excuse that Butch didn’t know what was going on if it were just the tutor issue. Yeah, it’s possible that a few players were lazy and asked a tutor to writer papers for them and the coach wouldn’t know about it. I might also buy that the coach didn’t know about a few players taking money from agents; that sort of thing happens, and it happens under the table. Even in those scenarios, which give Davis the benefit of the doubt, he’s still responsible for bringing in those types of players into the program.

But the one area I see as being defenseless is having assistant John Blake on staff. If this guy was getting paid by agent Gary Wichard in any respect, then Butch should have known about it. And if Davis was taking the “don’t ask don’t tell” approach, then he is to blame for allowing that coach/agent relationship to go on. He’s the head coach, and pleading ignorance only goes so far. The UNC brass must really love this guy to stand by him through all these embarrassing events, or they figure it’s best for the program to keep him until the end of the season before parting ways.



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