Tag:John Blake
Posted on: November 15, 2011 4:45 pm

VIDEO: Butch Davis on his dismissal from UNC

Posted by Chip Patterson

Former North Carolina head coach Butch Davis was not named in any of the nine allegations from the NCAA against the Tar Heels' football program. But his potential role in several aspects of the investigation, particularly his relationship with John Blake and tutor Jennifer Wiley, have been a hot topic of discussion for those following the story. Davis has maintained that he did not do anything wrong, but has not taken many opportunities to elaborate on his side of the story.

Until now.

The former Tar Heels head coach took to YouTube to issue his first lengthy explanation of the events leading to his dismissal in Chapel Hill. The video runs nearly ten minutes, and it looks as though Davis has chosen each of his words very carefully. He addresses Blake, Wiley, the hot-button Blue Zone, and his opinion that the firing just days before training camp was the decision of Chancellor Holden Thorp.

You can check out the video below, and leave your comments on Davis' prepared statement. The comment section was not shockingly disabled from the YouTube page, so you might as well drop them here.

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Posted on: July 27, 2011 6:43 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 7:03 pm

Who replaces Butch Davis at UNC?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

With the surprising news that North Carolina fired head coach Butch Davis on Wednesday, we can now all start wondering who will be taking his place in Chapel Hill. Of course, seeing as how the season is only a few weeks away from starting, it's unlikely that North Carolina will have a full-time replacement in place before then, so the school will likely slap the interim tag on an assistant for now. It could be assistant head coach Sam Pittman, offensive coordinator John Shoop or defensive coordinator Everett Withers.

But where will the school's eyes turn for the future? Let's take a look at some possible candidates.

Coaches Who Will Be Mentioned By Fans But Will Not Be North Carolina's Next Head Coach

Jim Tressel - The former Ohio State head coach currently has nothing else to do, but if you honestly think that a school that just fired a head coach amidst an NCAA investigation is going to hire somebody who was just fired by another school for his role in an NCAA investigation, well, you probably weren't able to read this sentence anyway.

Urban Meyer - There won't be a head coaching job available for the next nine months at a BCS program in which Meyer's name isn't tossed out as a replacement. The problem here is that Meyer really does seem content with his television gig, and if he does return, Ohio State seems to be the apple of his eye.

Mike Leach - I know I want Mike Leach to be a head coach again because he makes the sport that much fun and is a very good coach, but as long as he has that lawsuit against Texas Tech, no school is going to touch him.

Realistic Possibilities

Randy Shannon - Shannon is taking the year off to work in television, but he wants to get back into coaching. He has experience in the ACC and is very familiar with recruiting in the state of Florida thanks to his time at Miami. Of course, Butch Davis used to be a head coach at Miami too, and that didn't work out very well.

Terry Bowden - Bowden not only comes from a pretty good family blood line, but he has plenty of head coaching experience as well. He's at North Alabama this season, but North Alabama doesn't exactly strike me as the kind of place a coach plans on making his final stop. He's a name that could come up in Chapel Hill.

Tommy Bowden - Terry's brother has the same bloodline and also has head coaching experience in the ACC where he was at Clemson from 1999 to 2008. He also has six years of experience as an assistant in the conference at Florida State and Duke.

Bud Foster - Foster has been Virginia Tech's defensive coordinator since 1995, and has put together not only some of the best defenses in the ACC, but in the entire country during that time. He's expressed interest in head coaching jobs at West Virginia (2007) and Clemson (2008) but hasn't come up in the last few years. Could he get the itch to run his own program again this winter?

Gus Malzahn - Malzahn's star may never shine brighter than it did at Auburn in 2010, but if he's able to put together another strong offense in 2011 without Cam Newton, his name will once again be mentioned for a lot of job openings.

Rich Rodriguez - He's had his own run-ins with the NCAA before, but nothing on the level of what's happening at UNC. Plus, the man still knows how to put together a fantastic offense. As long as he doesn't bring Greg Robinson with him, it could work.

Just For The LOLs

John Blake - I hear Butch Davis trusted him quite a bit.

Randy Edsall - He's always said that Maryland was his "dream job" but that North Carolina is his "fantasy job."
Posted on: June 23, 2011 1:53 am
Edited on: June 23, 2011 10:29 pm

Ex-USC WR White admits taking illegal money

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Lonnie White, a former USC wide receiver and kick returner, wrote at TheDaily.com on Thursday that he frequently received large sums of money while he was playing for the Trojans in the mid-'80s. White, whose name is probably more familiar to California residents as a longtime Los Angeles Times writer (a skill on display in his article here), said he received a total $14,000 in illegal payments. He detailed one $5,000 transaction, saying he waited in "an empty lot ... sitting alone in a parked car late at night" and that he was given a "small brown bag filled with money."

That part in and of itself is a bit troubling, but not entirely surprising; the big thing there is that there's someone willing to put their name to it (and under no pressure to do so) instead of it being the stuff of rumor or allegation. No, the real key to White's story is that according to him, this type of behavior was commonplace across generations -- and he has his family to back him up. White's father Elwood told him such bending of the rules was prevalent at Morgan State as far back as the late '40s, and White's older brother Tim also played for USC's football team and introduced him to their "money man" in Lonnie's first year on campus:

We would use the meeting as a joyous occasion, but for most of my freshman year, I didn’t exactly know how the process worked. This was before cell phones, and my brother kept me in the dark when it came to details. I just remember taking a variety of items, from signed footballs to player-issued season tickets, to our benefits source in exchange for money, usually cash.

Even though I knew what I was doing was wrong, it seemed like everyone I knew who played college football enjoyed some type of extra benefits as a player.

Fortunately for USC, this story isn't going to lead to NCAA investigators hounding the White family and the USC athletic department for details. The statute of limitations for NCAA violations (absent a continuing pattern of repeat violations) is four years, so unless the NCAA finds a pattern of misbehavior going back 25 years, this is irrelevant to their current casework -- and let's be honest, if the NCAA finds that type of historical rule-breaking with USC, that program is getting nuked regardless of what White says.

Also, the Trojan athletic department and coaches, which White doesn't implicate, would catch the most heat in situations like these. Here's what White had to say about why the coaching staff doesn't merit criticism in this instance:

It must be noted that all this went on without the coaches’ knowledge. That seems hard to believe. It is true, though. At major programs, the pressure to win and the time commitment the coaches put forth toward the program itself leaves major opportunities for players to interact with people who have a different agenda.

That's a valid and underreported point. When North Carolina head coach Butch Davis tells NCAA investigators that he had no idea John Blake was a prolific runner for Gary Wichard while coaching for the Tar Heels at the same time, he probably meant it ... and the NCAA (no shrinking violet when it comes to sanctions, as USC can attest) clearly believed him, opting not to hit UNC with the dreaded Lack Of Institutional Control in its notice of allegations earlier this week.

At the same time, though, Davis did get a Failure To Monitor charge, which is still pretty bad, and ignorance is hardly a valid defense for coaches. White closes out his piece by noting that he knows at least five BCS-level players from last season who believe that the impermissible benefit problem is much larger than is being reported. That's probably because the coaches, by and large, still don't know when it's going on.

The worst part is, this will go on forever. It's an inevitable result of trying to instill and enforce a code of strict amateurism in a capitalist society. You can't get people to stop wanting money, and the stricter the consequences are, the greater lengths the athletes will go to to conceal the activity. Hence Lonnie White, sitting in an empty lot late at night, trading season tickets for a bag of money. Basic capitalism turned into an act of shame. That's obviously not the NCAA's stated goal, but it's the clear end result.

Doesn't seem right, does it?

Posted on: June 22, 2011 6:55 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:56 pm

PODCAST: Talking UNC Notice of Allegations

Posted by Chip Patterson

Earlier today, I hopped on the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast with Adam Aizer and J. Darin Darst to talk a little UNC Notice of Allegations.

"Should Butch Davis be fired?" That's the question being asked by many people after scanning the collection of charges detailed in the 42-page report from the NCAA. In reality, there was very little in the notice that was not already known thanks to some aggressive reporting by both national and local media. But the report does bring together a year of investigations into potentially major violations in several different categories involving a fair share of the most notable names on the roster.

So yes, it does look bad. On the surface, it looks very bad.

But the picture that has been painted for the NCAA by North Carolina is one of an institution struggling to deal with "rogue" members. Since John Blake did not tell UNC about the money from Gary Wichard, and Jennifer Wiley continued to provide services after no longer being employed by the school; North Carolina (and more importantly Butch Davis) can say they are sorry and try to cooperate. In fact, it is their cooperation which the institution will argue demonstrates the feeling of responsibility among those in oversight of the program.

Many people would argue that Davis, who has known Blake for "at least 30 years," should have known his reputation around coaching circles. It will be argued for years to come, that no matter what the NCAA can or cannot prove: Davis knew what Blake and Wiley were doing.

But as of Tuesday, it does not appear that the NCAA is prepared to allege wrongdoing directly against Butch Davis. Enraged fans will scream that Davis is guilty, and demand what they consider "justice." But the NCAA, similar to our own justice system, does not act based on assumption or reputation. With no evidence, it cannot be proven that Davis knew of any wrongdoing during which he did not act on as a head coach.

As you'll hear in the podcast below, a decision was made when the NCAA set foot on campus. North Carolina either had to jump ship and get rid of Davis when the scandal broke, or ride out the storm with him at the helm. If Davis has made it this long, there will be no changes to his employment AT LEAST until this process is complete.

Okay, after all that serious talk I should probably warn you that we also discuss Mascots, Adam's plan for Wolvie the Wolverine, and my early crush on college cheerleaders.

Posted on: June 21, 2011 8:13 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:57 pm

UNC receives Notice of Allegations from NCAA

Posted by Chip Patterson

In June 2010 the NCAA began to investigate the North Carolina football program in regards to possible violations regarding players receiving impermissible benefits. After a tumultuous season that saw 14 players miss at least one game (with seven missing the entire season), the first steps of closure can begin with this multi-pronged investigation into the North Carolina football program.

The official Notice of Allegations (you can see the full letter here on TarHeelBlue.com), includes nine different allegations.

Three (3) of the allegations are against former North Carolina assistant coach John Blake:

- Unethical conduct for providing false and misleading information to the NCAA enforcement staff and to the institution and for failure to cooperate with the investigation.
- Blake marketed athletic abilities of student-athletes to agent Gary Wichard
- Blake received outside income that he did not report to the institution

Two (2) of the allegations are against former North Carolina tutor Jennifer Wiley:

- Unethical conduct for refusing to provide information to the NCAA enforcement staff and to the institution
- Wiley provided extra benefits to student-athletes in the form of ravel and parking expenses, and tutoring.

The rest of the allegations: - Allegations of fraud against student-athletes and the tutor
- Allegations that student-athletes received preferential treatment and accepted impermissible benefits
- Allegations against a former student-athlete for unethical conduct
- Failure by the institution to adequately monitor the conduct of Chris Hawkins, an individual triggering NCAA agent legislation; the social media activity of the football team for a period in 2010; and possible extra benefits triggered by agent legislation.

The notice of allegations tells the school the alleged NCAA violations the enforcement staff found during the investigation process. The school has 90 days to respond, though they may request more time. After the school issues their response, a hearing date is set with the Committee on Infractions. The Committee on Infractions meets about six times a year, usually lasting for two to three days over a weekend. Most recently the committee heard cases related to Boise State and Tennessee. Ohio State, the grandaddy of NCAA cases these days, is currently scheduled to go before the committee on Aug. 12.

The NCAA requested that the school limit public comments on the details of the investigation and the Notice of Allegations until the hearing before the Committee on Infractions, which has been set for Oct. 28. However, head coach Butch Davis did offer a statement in the official release.

“I feel terrible that these allegations occurred under my watch," Davis said. "I especially regret that the university has had to endure this scrutiny because of the football program. The responsibility for correcting any problems that put us in this position is mine, and I take that responsibility very seriously."

Chancellor Holden Thorp also took responsibility for the allegations, but also credited the football program's cooperation with the NCAA during this year-long process.

“I deeply regret that Carolina is in this position," Thorp said. "We made mistakes, and we have to face that. When the investigation started a year ago, we pledged to cooperate fully with the NCAA, to go where the facts took us, and to face the issues head on. Our level of cooperation is evident in the allegations, some of which arise from facts that we self-reported to the NCAA. We will emerge with a stronger athletics program, and we will restore confidence in Carolina football.”

It is not until after the hearing the Committee on Infractions will put together their final report, which will include the penalties for the violations. Different forms of NCAA sanctions include reduced scholarships, postseason bans, vacated wins, recruiting restrictions, and television bans. In recent cases Michigan. USC, Florida State, Texas Tech, and Alabama have received some form of NCAA sanctions.

Posted on: June 17, 2011 12:33 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 9:41 pm

Records show Blake spoke to players during trip

Posted by Chip Patterson

A whopping $13,000 in parking tickets wasn't the only interesting revelation from North Carolina's release of documents on Thursday. Phone records show communication between former assistant John Blake and former players Marvin Austin and Cam Thomas during their trip to a California training facility before the 2009 season, J.P. Giglio of the News & Observer in Raleigh reported.

Cellphone records were obtained as part of the lawsuit filed by several local media outlets to release information withheld by the university. They show that Blake contacted numbers tied to Austin while he and Thomas were training with former UNC teammate Kentwan Balmer at Proactive Sports Performance in Westlake Village, Calif. -- a location frequently used by Gary Wichard and Pro Tect Management.

If Blake, or anyone else at UNC had knowledge of Austin and Thomas being with Balmer in California, it would be the responsibility of the North Carolina compliance office to investigate whether the trip was permissible.

Austin has contended as recently as March that no one at UNC knew about his trip with Thomas, but the communication between Blake, Wichard, Austin and Thomas suggests otherwise. Hotel receipts financially link Austin to Wichard's agency and show the dates of the players' stay as July 23 to Aug 1. From July 20 to Aug. 3, Blake's records show 20 calls or texts to Wichard's cellphone, 10 to Austin's and eight to Thomas.

While some have argued that these potential violations can be pinned on Blake, who resigned from the program one game into the 2010 season, the reality is that we may be far from the end of these allegations. Local media has a lot to gain from drawing dots together to try and find something that the NCAA may have missed in their investigation. North Carolina received their Notice of Inquiry from the NCAA on June 7, and sources have reported that the Notice of Allegations could come as soon as this week.

Once North Carolina receives their notice from the NCAA, the closure process can finally begin. It has been reported that the school is expecting the notice to highlight nine different infractions, including failure to monitor charges in relation to Blake, tutor Jennifer Wiley, and former player/runner Chris Hawkins. The notice will also include a suggestion of punishments for the allegations, which could include the loss of scholarships, probation or even a postseason and/or television ban. Once the notice is received, the school will have 90 days to respond and then there will be a date set for the school to appear in front of the Committee on Infractions.

For Tar Heel fans, the hope is that no additional allegations can be drawn from the information released as a result of the lawsuit. The faster that notice comes, the faster the hearing can be set and the entire process can finally be settled.

Posted on: June 7, 2011 4:59 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 5:01 pm

UNC receives Letter of Inquiry from NCAA

Posted by Chip Patterson

Last week, InsideCarolina.com reported that UNC was expecting to receive their Notice of Allegations from the NCAA sometime around the end of the this week. As we learned in the Ohio State case, the Notice of Allegations gives the school an idea of what charges they are facing for different violations. On Tuesday, UNC received their official Letter of Inquiry from the NCAA.

According to NCAA Enforcement Procedures, the Letter of Inquiry is sent to tell the university that the enforcement staff will be investigating the school. After the letter of inquiry is set, a notice of allegations must be sent within six months.

For the Tar Heels' football program, they did not need any notice to realize they are currently under investigation. This is merely the next official step in advancing the official process. The Notice of Allegations could come on Thursday or Friday, as InsideCarolina.com reported last week. Or the inquiry could be extended, and the notice may not be issued for 5-6 months from now. With the NCAA, you can never be sure on timetable - so we will sit and wait with the rest of the college football community as North Carolina waits to hear a definitive word on the eventual allegations.
Posted on: May 19, 2011 7:22 pm

Report: NCAA interviews UNC DE Quinton Coples

Posted by Adam Jacobi

A report by Joe Schad of ESPN today indicated that North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples is gaining unwanted attention from the NCAA after he was seen in online pictures from a post-draft party earlier this month. Coples is with former North Carolina players Marvin Austin and Robert Quinn in the pictures, and a man the NCAA has investigated as a possible runner for agents is also visible in some pictures.

The issue here is that the party was held in Washington D.C., and that Austin and Quinn were both barred from playing in 2010 after having taken illegal benefits from agents. That Coples would show up at such a party is enough to garner the NCAA's attention, though there's no indication as yet that his eligibility is in doubt. Still, he's got some questions to answer:

Photographs of Coples with Austin and Quinn that appeared on Facebook and the web site EliteDCMag.com prompted the inquiry. The party is labeled as taking place at "Ultrabar" nightclub. Also seen in photos with players is at least one alleged runner the NCAA has investigated.

The NCAA wants to know how Coples paid for his travel to the party, who paid for his admission and his hotel, and if he accepted any free food or drink. 

This sort of controversy is the last thing North Carolina needs after the massive scandal of illegal benefits cost 13 players (mostly high-profile starters) their eligibility, UNC assistant John Blake his job, and agent Gary Wichard his license. Head coach Butch Davis saved his job by acting swiftly once the illegal benefits were discovered and not participating in any objectionable behavior, but if this type of problem continues to cost North Carolina's top players their eligibility, UNC administration officials may have significantly less patience for Davis this time around.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com