Butch Davis Thursday Notebook

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina head coach Butch Davis spoke to the media on Thursday afternoon about an Internet report detailing a financial relationship between former assistant coach John Blake and sports agent Gary Wichard.

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BUTCH DAVIS
(8:53)

** On Wednesday night, Yahoo Sports posted an article shedding light on former UNC assistant coach John Blake's financial relationship with Gary Wichard, as well as delivering some hard evidence on Marvin Austin's role in the ongoing NCAA investigation. As a result, some media members and most fans have assumed those revelations to be new developments in the review, but Davis told a throng of reporters at the Navy Practice Fields on Thursday that wasn't the case.

"I don't think that anything came to light, from what I understand in talking to the administration, in that particular story that wasn't already known over the last couple of weeks as part of the review and the investigation that the NCAA conducted," Davis said.

Athletic director Dick Baddour confirmed that belief earlier in the day, stating in a press release that, "We became aware of some of the information through the NCAA investigation when John Blake was interviewed on Aug. 31."

Even so, Davis was asked if it was in the best interest of the school for him to resign given those revelations.

Davis responded by saying, "I do not – I expect to be the football coach here currently and certainly in the future."

** There has been plenty of criticism directed at Davis for the current state of the program, and he vowed on Thursday to correct the problems by making changes where they were needed.

"As the head football coach, I've got to take a lot more responsibility for some of the things that have gone on with the football program," Davis said. "I promise you we're going to implement policies – some of them we've already put into place. Some things that we've changed from the previous years, the way that we educate the players, the way that we talk to them about agents and extra benefits, the way that we monitor the ways that they go when they go off campus."

** A bulk of the media's questions, as expected, focused on the financial relationship between Blake and Wichard. According to Davis, the university learned of that situation as a by-product of the NCAA review.

"Not knowing the exact extent of it, certainly, I'm disappointed a lot of these things have happened," Davis said. "You clearly wish that they hadn't happened. We're going to do everything we can in the future to ensure that they don't happen again."

Davis pointed to an exhaustive background check that the university conducts on potential employees – one that includes dialogue with the NCAA – as to why there was no cause for concern when hiring Blake.

"He had a good reputation as a good football coach," said Davis, who was Blake's high school biology teacher. "He had a good resume. He coached on two Super Bowl teams. He had an outstanding reputation at the University of Nebraska. He worked for athletic director Steve Pederson, who I think has a tremendous amount of respect, and also for Tom Osborne, who arguably is one of the finest coaches and men and athletic directors I've ever known."

** Davis has been labeled as the quintessential football CEO, a tag that has raised eyebrows during the NCAA's two-pronged investigation that includes both agent-related and academic-related issues. If Davis does in fact have his finger on the pulse of the program, should he have known about his assistant head coach's relationship with a sports agent?

"Cleary, as the head football coach, you'd like to think that you would know," Davis said. "But the answer to your question is that I did not know."

When asked if not knowing leads down the path to a lack of institutional control, Davis responded, "I don't think so, no."

Since the "lack of institutional control" phrase has been thrown around incorrectly a lot over the past couple of weeks, an accurate definition is required. There are four pillars of institution control that the NCAA considers when making a determination about a specific athletic program – (1) compliance systems, (2) monitoring/enforcement, (3) rules education and (4) commitment to compliance.

As for Davis's role, according to NCAA Bylaw 11.1.2.1, a head coach has "a responsibility to promote an atmosphere for compliance within the program and monitor the activities of assistants and staff who report directly or indirectly to the head coach."

** With several resignation questions tossed his way, Davis was finally offered a platform to respond to people who feel that he should resign his post as North Carolina's head football coach.

"I'd like for them to understand that we are doing everything we can to bring a class program, that to win football games the right way, to graduate players and we are going to do better," Davis said. "Anything that I can do, I am absolutely willing to talk a look at. Continue to do things right to continue to do those thing.

"Anything that we need to fix, whether it's from an academic standpoint, whether it's looking into the backgrounds of coaches, we're certainly going to do that. In retrospect and looking back, because people have drawn the assumption that because Coach Blake had worked outside of college football, clearly that's something that we would definitely not go down that alley again."

** As Inside Carolina reported on Thursday afternoon, senior strong safety Da'Norris Searcy will play on Saturday against East Carolina. According to Davis, Searcy was "totally cleared from the academic review."

It is unclear how much Searcy will be able to contribute on Saturday after being sidelined since Sept. 3. Davis indicated last week that his suspended players were getting standard reps in individual and position drills, but that the eligible players were receiving the bulk of the 7-on-7 and full-team drill snaps.

"We'll try to figure out what kind of role that Da'Norris can play on such short notice with only a day before the game this weekend," Davis said.



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