Do you work at UNC? Beware of being thrown under a bus [Updated 3:45 pm]

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.

Full article from Joe Giglio of News & Observer:

“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.

Davis continued:
“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:

 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 players’ 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 ‘sorry they got caught’ and sorry for the negativity brought to the program than he is sorry that major violations were committed. You get nothing more than token “I’m responsible” 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 – 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 ‘pin action’ here is the one related to the Tar Heel players currently in ‘limbo’ and will almost certainly never play football again.  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 “Carolina Family” extends only until ‘The Flagship’ doesn’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 ‘good’ folks over at Carolina are doing everything they can do to help Austin believe that he has a chance of playing one day. You know…like, “Marvin is working his way back on to the team”? 

    You see…Marvin is like the girlfriend that you don’t want boiling your bunny. (Glen Close in Fatal Attraction for all of you youngsters). You can’t completely break up with her for fear of what will happen afterwards. Carolina can’t completely break up with Austin for fear of him coming clean on all the things he knows – including how he was recruited and how he helped recruit other kids.

UNC Scandal

17 Responses to Do you work at UNC? Beware of being thrown under a bus [Updated 3:45 pm]

  1. choppack1 10/04/2010 at 12:46 PM #

    Yea – he just needs to be quiet. He’s started to sound like the Coach the players at Cleveland were talking about.

  2. packplantpath 10/04/2010 at 12:59 PM #

    “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.””

    Could somebody translate this part for me?

    Seems to be saying that even the hint of impropriety without proof is enough to get Blake fired in BD’s opinion.

    So, does BD believe that logic goes all the way to the top? If so, he just admitted he should be fired.

  3. highstick 10/04/2010 at 1:01 PM #

    That Amirican Indian for “Chief speaks with forked tongue”!!

  4. imawolf 10/04/2010 at 1:06 PM #

    “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.”

    So, this sounds like they knew of possible violations and connections but could not verify: So, ………… just leave it alone and it’ll go home…….. PLEASE…… Lack of control…..certainly sounds like he “coach Davis” has made a case for lack of control…….

  5. highstick 10/04/2010 at 1:14 PM #

    The next story from Baddour:

    “If we would have never known that any of these allegations were absolutely true, coach Blake(replace with Coach Davis) would have been dismissed,” Davis(replace with Dick Baddour) said. “I would have fired him.””

    Now Thorpe won’t throw Baddour under the bus cause “he’s family”!

  6. mafpack 10/04/2010 at 1:28 PM #

    Darn, tried to link the picture directly, guess that only works in the forums. I’m considering making more funny ones of good ol’ Butch… there’s just so much good material out there.

  7. wufpup76 10/04/2010 at 1:34 PM #

    I’m afraid this won’t save you, Chief Runs Tainted Programs.

    You must renew your broken spirit in the raging waters of Truth, Honor, and Responsibility.


    Like that will happen … Find someone else to throw under the bus!

  8. packbackr04 10/04/2010 at 2:01 PM #

    why dont they can him now and try to save some of the recruits with a new coach?

  9. Sweet jumper 10/04/2010 at 2:07 PM #


  10. WULF 10/04/2010 at 2:42 PM #

    packbackr04, it’s all about the benjamins….

  11. LRM 10/04/2010 at 2:42 PM #

    The Carolina Way is far too arrogant to require any accountability.

  12. imawolf 10/04/2010 at 3:05 PM #

    Butch Davis knew, Baddor knew, Thorpe knew…….From the beginning, it was get us to the top. Do what ever it takes….and to quote the Mission Impossible Movies……

    “As always, should you or any of your IM Force be caught or killed, the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This recording will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck, Jim.” errr..Butch

    This will be the stimga left behind at UNC regardless of the final outcome.

  13. choppack1 10/04/2010 at 3:25 PM #

    Blake’s lawyer is saying that the Bama player came to him because of concerns w/ agents and Blake warned him of agents. He only recommended one when the player asked him for one…

    Loans were from Wichard were for Blake’s son private school…

    I wonder what the Bama player’s story is…

  14. PackMan97 10/04/2010 at 3:32 PM #

    “I’m sorry that I trusted John Blake [not to get caught].”

    Fixed that quote.

  15. Prowling Woofie 10/04/2010 at 3:44 PM #

    Blake can’t pay for his son’s private school with a $240K salary ???

    Holy smoke – who is going to believe that ? Oh, yeah – Butch will !!!

    In the world of Corporate Compliance, what Carolina is practicing is called “Self-Blinding’, which is, putting it bluntly – “Do what you have to do, but don’t tell me about it”.

    Butch is self-blinding with regards to Blake; Baddour with regards to Davis; Thorp with regards to Baddour.

    By the way, self-blinding is not a valid excuse – you are still found non-compliant. The government will still fry you !

  16. tjfoose1 10/04/2010 at 4:24 PM #

    “why dont they can him now and try to save some of the recruits with a new coach?”

    They can’t. It’s about the elephant in the room no one over there wants to even mention – basketball. UNC needs Butch’s silence more than Butch needs UNC.

    What I just wrote to a friend:

    “I expect their plan right now is for Butch to stay till the end of the season… both using that time to serve their own interests. UNC to try to salvage the season and the recruiting class, Butch to line up another job (NCAA or Pro assistant). Butch then leaves after the season, saying that it is time to move on. He has done his job and left a foundation in place for success. Time for a new challenge. He then gets a payoff (probably from the rams club, and not made public) to leave quietly, with no admission of wrong doing or guilt.

    The fly in the ointment is the NCAA. What will the NCAA do?

    All this because of Marvin Austin and his Twitter account… ”

    Marvin is my favorite UNC athlete of all time.

  17. Pack Mentality 10/04/2010 at 4:40 PM #

    I hope this lame duck of a coach never gets fired. Without the dirty talent on the team he is 1-2. With the dirty talent he goes 8-5 with a tire bowl loss. I wonder how divisive of a figure he will be over there if they keep him around after having a crappy record this year. Are these blind supporters of his just going by the preseason rankings as their proof of a “big time” coach? His record is so mediocre it is laughable to outsiders that they support him in light of this scandal.

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