Well, it is safe to say that John Blake has officially been thrown under the bus. Today, Butch Davis assumed partial responsibility, but not complete responsibility for the scandal in Chapel Hill that just happened to occur under his leadership.
“Let me tell you, here’s how I feel: I am very sorry that all of this stuff has tainted the football program,” Davis said. “And as the head football coach, I take a tremendous amount of responsibility for all of the football-related issues. I’m the head guy.
“I’m sorry that it has affected the football program. But I’m going to tell you what I’m more sorry about, I’m sorry that I trusted John Blake.”
The relationship between Davis and Blake goes back more than 30 years. Davis taught Blake in high school in Oklahoma in the late 1970s. The two then worked together on the same coaching staff with the Dallas Cowboys in the mid 1990s.
One of the first hires Davis made when he took over for John Bunting in Nov. 2006 was Blake, then an assistant at Nebraska.
Blake worked on staffs at Oklahoma and Mississippi State that committed major NCAA violations but was not been personally tied to those transgressions.
Davis has recently said there were no “red flags” when Blake was hired from the NCAA or by anyone at UNC who vetted Blake before he was hired in Jan. 2007.
Davis said he did not know which allegations against Blake were true and said he did not know of Blake’s private dealings while he was an assistant at UNC.
“If we would have never known that any of these allegations were absolutely true, coach Blake would have been dismissed,” Davis said. “I would have fired him.”
Poor Butch Davis. Having taught and coached Blake in high school and having worked with him at the Dallas Cowboys wasn’t enough for Butch Davis to figure out what was so blatantly obvious to most other coaches in the business. Maybe Butch should have called Steve Spurrier or other people in college football to ask them a few questions before adding Blake to his staff at UNC as one of his very first hires. Afterall, the reference check was his responsibility according to Dickey Baddour(see below):
“Let me just say this: When you’ve been in coaching as long as I have, we know the reputation of almost all the coaches out there that have been around a long time,” Spurrier told The (Columbia, S.C.) State. “So I guess what I would say is that article’s(about Blake) not very surprising. That’s about the least I should say about it.
“We all have a reputation, especially guys who’ve coached 20 years or so. It’s hard to hide whatever your reputation is.
Of course, we all knew it was headed down the “rogue assistant coach” path a long time ago. The irrelevant defense from the “Chief” is obviously that he knew nothing and couldn’t possibly have known anything because he is only the head football coach at a school with 27,000 students. How is he supposed to know about potential NCAA violations and ethical questions about his associate head coach and recruiting coordinator? Just curious for the media and people in power within the UNC System — what was Jim Valvano expected to know compared to Butch Davis?
Unfortunately for Butch, the NCAA doesn’t care about his denial. As Luke DeCock laid out in a fantastic article this morning. It really doesn’t matter if Butch knew; in fact, a case could be made that he is even more ‘guilty’ by NOT KNOWING…because, he is SUPPOSED to know.
Ignorance is no excuse. As the NCAA’s fine print states: “Too often, when assistant coaches are involved in a web of serious violations, head coaches profess ignorance, saying that they were too busy to know what was occurring and that they trusted their assistants. Such a failure by head coaches to control their teams … is a lack of institutional control.”
The distancing from Blake actually started almost a month ago:
“You have to put it into context: I coached John Blake for two years in high school,” Davis said. “Then there was at least a 12-year period of time when I didn’t see him until he was minority intern to the Dallas Cowboys for one summer and then came back the following year for two years as defensive line coach. Then when I went to Miami, from 1995 until here, another 12 years, between our relationship.“
Maybe Butch is only employing the same “throwing under the bus” tactic used by other administrators at UNC:
Â Baddour said Davis would have been the “hiring supervisor” in charge of checking Blake’s references and employment history. The extent to which a hiring supervisor checks the employment history of an applicant varies depending on how well the supervisor knows the candidate, according to a policy explained by Steve Kirschner, UNC’s sports information director.
Ouch. Clearly, it wasn’t Dickey’s fault that Blake was hired. As we mentioned above, Dickey said the background check was Butch’s responsibility and according to Steve Spurrier it would have been easy to make a few phone calls to peers in college football to understand John Blake’s(a.k.a Black Santa) reputation.
If you remember back in August we blogged about UNC’s Kirschner hosting seminars on the potential damage of student-athlete participation on social networking sites. This symposium was held in April when Marvin Austin’s infamous tweets originally drew the attention of the NCAA. Yet, Kirschner didn’t feel it was important enough to protect the athletic department he worked for by making sure these sites were being monitored:
Kirschner said the players are responsible for what they put on social media sites just as they are responsible for what they say in a news conference. He said coaches, administrators and sports information directors are constantly talking with athletes about Twitter and Facebook, and freshmen receive a presentation when they get on campus. Kirschner said each sport is responsible for monitoring their playersâ€™ social media accounts.
Don’t blame Kirschner. Monitoring websites was Butch’s responsibility because hosting symposiums on monitoring social networking sites is a much bigger priority than actually monitoring the sites themselves.
See a pattern developing?
More from SFN Authors:
- Butch appears much more â€˜sorry they got caughtâ€™ and sorry for the negativity brought to the program than he is sorry that major violations were committed. You get nothing more than token â€œIâ€™m responsibleâ€ quips, but certainly no significant contrition appears present.
- The Carolina PR machine is in a pretty precarious position right now. One has to think that Santa Blake probably knows where a lot of bodies are buried â€“ maybe even some things related to the Tar Heel Baseball and Basketball programs? Was the $74,000 pay-off enough to keep him happy and quiet while Butch and University murder him in the media?
- The real â€˜pin actionâ€™ here is the one related to the Tar Heel players currently in â€˜limboâ€™ and will almost certainly never play football again.Â At what point to the Marvin Austins, Greg Littles, Charles Browns and Robert Quinns and other players recognize that their position as a valued member of the â€œCarolina Familyâ€ extends only until â€˜The Flagshipâ€™ doesnâ€™t need or want their silence any more? I know that most of these kids aren’t rocket scientists…perhaps some of their tutors can help them through all of this? For more analysis on this, we highly encourage you to read this thread for more analysis on what is going on here.
You can believe that the â€˜goodâ€™ folks over at Carolina are doing everything they can do to help Austin believe that he has a chance of playing one day. You knowâ€¦like, â€œMarvin is working his way back on to the teamâ€?Â
You seeâ€¦Marvin is like the girlfriend that you donâ€™t want boiling your bunny. (Glen Close in Fatal Attraction for all of you youngsters). You canâ€™t completely break up with her for fear of what will happen afterwards. Carolina canâ€™t completely break up with Austin for fear of him coming clean on all the things he knows â€“ including how he was recruited and how he helped recruit other kids.