Well nothing much happened today so I don’t know what to write about.
But seriously, given the unreal crush of information and news, starting today I will focus on one question per day. Otherwise I would go crazy.
Today we have:
What did UNC-CH know about Blake’s financial connections to Wichard and when did they know it?
When the huge bombs started going off last night and this morning some of the spin coming from Chapel Hill was that this was “old news” that UNC-CH and the NCAA already knew about. This spin was then retroactively sort of confirmed by Baddour, who released a statement at 3:00, apparently in response to the mind-blowing Yahoo report. Baddour’s 3:00 statement said, in part:
“We became aware of some of the information through the NCAA investigation when John Blake was interviewed on Aug. 31. But financial transactions in and of themselves don’t establish a violation, and at that time we did not have enough information to dismiss him with cause.
As we all know, Blake “resigned” several days later.
A few points here. First, they are claiming that they knew Blake, while the UNC-CH Associate Head Coach and Recruiting Coodinator, was being paid by an agent during his tenure with UNC-CH and this is not cause for dismissal? Wow. But apparently it was “enough information” to sort of dismiss him about a week later. This sounds fishy already.
Let’s continue with Baddour’s statement:
“Nevertheless, we weren’t comfortable with what we learned. That, combined with the distraction that Coach Blake was becoming to the football program, led us to the conclusion that it was not in our best interest for him to continue to be part of our program. He offered to resign, and we agreed to terms on Sept. 5.”
You know, that’s funny, because when Blake “resigned” there was absolutely NO MENTION of the financial “irregularities” that led UNC-CH to be uncomfortable. Blake was merely labled a “distraction.” So they have been hiding this explosive information all this time? But I thought they were being honest and forthright? They certainly tell us that they are being honest and forthright at every opportunity. But it is important to know that UNC-CH has the capacity to hide such important information while acting innocent. Remember, it is apparently still the UNC-CH position that Marvin Austin as been suspended for violating team rules unrelated to the scandal and is currently “working his way back on the team.” As an aside, I want to see a UNC-CH official recite that with a straight face. But let’s move on.
Next, I don’t understand how, spin-wise, it is in any way a positive for this to be “old news” (if it is)? It smells like a cover-up if you go with that story. Even aside from that, are they contending that the statute of limitations runs less than a month after actual notice and therefore they can’t be held accountable for it? I just don’t understand the spin at all.
Let’s move on. Here is where it gets really sticky. Butch Davis was on the radio this morning and said some things that seem to contradict Baddur’s 3:00 statement on the timing of UNC’s knowledge about the Blake-Wichard payments. As you can read about in full here on the ACC Now blog, Butch claimed total ignorance:
Blake received multiple payments, a personal loan of $45,000 and a credit card issued by Wichard’s company, according to a Yahoo! Sports report. Davis was interviewed by Raleigh radio host Taylor Zarzour on Thursday morning and denied having any knowledge of the situation.
“That was a total absolute revelation to me. I had no idea and don’t even know if it’s actually true.”
These are guys who have been friends/coworkers for decades and Butch has absolutely no idea about this stuff? Also, isn’t it sort of Butch’s job to know if his Associate Head Coach/Recruiting Coordinaitor is being paid by an agent? I will leave it up to the reader to decide about the plausibility of Butch’s claims of ignorance regarding Blake’s reputation, which are well-known to the public, and certainly would be to Butch.
We seem to have two different stories on the timing of UNC’s knowledge of the Wichard to Blake payments, with Baddour seeming to claim much earlier knowledge than Butch. Did Baddour keep information from Butch or are they dissembling the meaning of “some … information” (from Baddour’s 3:00 statement)? We don’t know!