Posted on: July 27, 2011 6:43 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 7:03 pm
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.
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 1:59 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:55 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
North Carolina's Notice of Allegations, delivered to the school earlier this week by the NCAA, is certainly stocked with all kinds of facts, figures, and redacted information to be discussed and debated between now and the Oct. 28 hearing with Committee on Infractions. The case will end up being a standard for NCAA enforcement in modern college football history. It may be buried well below the lede on Sportscenter, but trust me: we will remember this case.
One aspect of the case that is particularly notable is in alleged violation 9b.
In February through June 2010, the institution did not adequately and consistently monitor social networking activity that visibly illustrated potential amateurism violations within the football program, which delayed the institution's discovery and compounded the provision of impermissible benefits provided in Allegation Nos. 4-a, 4-c, 4-d and 4-e.This is where the entire investigation started. All 42 pages of letters and allegations can be summed up in a series of 140-character tweets from Greg Little and Marvin Austin. Well, technically, it was a combination of tweeting some Rick Ross lyrics, TwitPic'ing pool parties and expensive dinner bills, along with some other loose evidence of misconduct.
So the NCAA is wondering how North Carolina's compliance office did not see a red flag when their star student athletes were living a lavish lifestyle in big cities the summer before their senior season. Now, being charged with Failure To Monitor, this case becomes the NCAA's official acknowledgement of social networking in collegiate sports.
Unfortunately, they are probably entering the game a little too late. Acting reactively, as usual, the NCAA has essentially let compliance offices all over the country know that this is something they should be monitoring closely. Here's the thing: it's really not that hard.
Make Twitter lists, download Tweetdeck, organize the accounts however you choose -- there of plenty of options. If the "search" function is too difficult to figure out, then require athletes to include their Twitter handle at the same time you get the rest of their contact information. Most of these student-athletes (particularly the ones most at-risk of impermissible benefits) will want as many people as possible to have unprotected access to their Twitter accounts. Amateurism rules prevent an athlete from benefiting off their own likeness financially, but Twitter allows a pro prospect to begin marketing themselves while in school. Certain athletes enjoy building their brand, interacting with fans and getting a more hands-on approach to shaping people's perception.
All the compliance office has to do is watch, and ask questions.
Recently Maryland defensive lineman and Twitter extraodinaire A.J. Francis (@The_Franchyze) tweeted a lyrics from a song by Rick Ross (surprise!) and Kanye West -- "Live Fast, Die Young."
Seems like we getting' money for the wrong things,Now, someone with a common knowledge of the lyrics on Ross' 2010 release Teflon Don might recognize that quote. But none of those people are in Maryland's compliance office. To them, this seemed like a questionable Twitter-post that could possibly be dealing with impermissible benefits. No need to launch an investigation, but the office took action.
Now Francis was asked to remove the post, but I think once Compliance explained the situation he understood. There could be a discussion about free speech, but we have yet to see a Chad Ochocinco-type character challenge the authority of his school on those grounds. But the point of the matter is that if North Carolina's compliance office had been keeping an eye on the profiles of its star athletes, there could have been more immediate action to nip the wrongdoing in the bud.
So the message has been sent to compliance offices everywhere. It's time to wake up and follow your student-athletes on their social networking sites. The fans are, most of the media is, and for both of those groups to find out about a potential violations well before the compliance office is unacceptable.
Go ahead, just follow them. Trust me, most student-athletes will be happy to raise their follower/friend count.
(Image Credit: Twitter)
Posted on: April 13, 2011 10:20 am
Edited on: April 15, 2011 8:26 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
UPDATE: The school announced Thursday night that Ryan Houston had undergone successful surgery to repair the broken right scapula (shoulder blade) that he injured during the Spring Game. Houston is expected to be out for approximately four months, bringing him back to the field a few weeks before the Tar Heels kick off the 2011 season. Backup running back Hunter Furr saw brief action in 2010, but outside of Houston the Tar Heels lack experience at that position. Gionvanni Bernard, a 5-10 redshirt freshman, is listed behind Furr on the spring depth chart but is expected to have an impact once he finds his way in the rotation.
North Carolina starting running back Ryan Houston has been waiting a long time to make his return to the football field for the Tar Heels. Houston was redshirted last season after missing five games while school officials worked with the NCAA to determine his eligibility. By the time Houston was cleared to play, head coach Butch Davis announced that Houston would redshirt the season to save his final year of eligibility for 2011. Preparing for his final year as the starting running back, Houston encountered yet another unseen obstacle.
School officials confirmed to InsideCarolina.com, North Carolina's Scout affiliate, that Houston broke his shoulder blade during Saturday's spring game and will have surgery on Thursday . There has been no word on how much time Houston will miss, the school plans to make an announcement following the procedure.
Keep it here at the Eye on College Football for more on this story as it develops
Posted on: October 4, 2010 5:39 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
There are reports emerging late tonight that John Blake, the now-fired assistant coach to Butch Davis at North Carolina, contacted Alabama defensive lineman Marcell Dareus on behalf of agent Gary Wichard.
Assuming all of this is true, two quick observations and one long one:
1. John Blake is now completely unemployable in D-I football.
2. Using an assistant coach at a Top 25, BCS-conference school as a runner is like the top alpha-male move an agent can make.
3. This should never happen.
Obviously it's not much of an intellectual feat to decide that this revelation is bad for college football, but the when we've gotten to the point that an agent asking an assistant coach -- regardless of whether they're prior acquaintances -- to act as a runner for a player and the coach accepts, then we're past some sort of rubicon. That would mean that both the agent and the coach had decided that to engage in this activity was in their best interests, and that the reward outweighed the risk. Furthermore, Dareus did accept over $1,700 from Wichard, leading to his two-game suspension, so evidently Dareus agreed about those best interests.
Perhaps it's a failure on the NCAA's part that these type of deals go on. Someone like Dareus would face significant punishment if he came forward to the NCAA about the nature of his involvement with people like Blake and Wichard once he accepted an illegal benefit -- regardless of whether he knew at the time it was inappropriate. At that point, it becomes in Dareus' best interests to hide this fact, not report it. With the benefit of retroactive immunity as a whistleblower, however, he can report the details of Wichard's and Blake's dealings to the NCAA without fearing the severe punishment that would normally await him.
Obviously, this would have to go hand-in-hand with an equally punitive measure against agents; recall that Wichard had to think this was all a good idea too, and that's because he doesn't face any serious professional repercussions over this mess. Sure, he's going to have some negative publicity, but Wichard still gets to be other players' agent. His agent's license (which is to say, his livelihood) isn't seriously at risk here, and as long as he and his peers are treated more favorably by the appropriate authorities than their potential clients, this type of silliness will continue unabated.
And yes, this new arrangement would sort of encourage a high-profile player to momentarily abuse this position of trust by the NCAA, but not only would it significantly discourage this strange courtship from being instigated in the first place, it's also time that the NCAA started empowering its most high-profile athletes to help protect its cherished amateurism, not assuming they're undermining it at every step of the way.
Posted on: October 1, 2010 2:42 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
It's been generally accepted fact since the revelations about North Carolina assistant John Blake and his monetary involvement with agents that Butch Davis is, in all likelihood, the most fired man in college football. Fired-er than Tim Brewster. Fired-er than Dan Hawkins*. FI. YERD.
All of that is apparently news to Davis' employers, however, who reiterated their support for Davis in an interview with the Daily Tarheel:
This type of talk goes far above the usual type of rhetoric involved in votes of confidence; Baddour and Winston are unequivocally handing the job to Davis, no more questions asked, for 2011 and beyond. There's no other way to interpret their quotes without assuming the administrators are being so deliberately misleading that a new football coach would have no reason to want to work for them.
So if Davis' job really is safe, in retrospect, it shouldn't be all that surprising; the LSU brass who came thisclose to hiring Davis twice over the last 11 years still talk fondly about him, even knowing what turmoil the UNC program was in at the time. So if Davis has this essentially universal support among administrators who've had the opportunity to interact with him, it stands to reason that he's got one more chance, and UNC wants him to have that chance in Chapel Hill. But man, if he (or any single one of his assistant coaches) messes up again, man...
*Doesn't "Brewster Davis Hawkins" sound like a competing ad agency to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce? Is that just me? Fine.
Posted on: September 8, 2010 10:36 am
Edited on: September 8, 2010 11:10 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
As the NCAA continues it's investigation into the North Carolina football program, college football fans are left to stand on the outside only hearing rumors and murmurs of possible allegations and "insider" information.
That is until a local paper steps in with some good old fashioned investigative reporting. The News & Observer released a report late Tuesday night that detailed the extensive communication between former assistant coach John Blake and sports agent Gary Whichard. Blake's connections with Whichard have been the center of scrutiny since news broke of the NCAA's investigation of North Carolina in July.
The university announced Blake's resignation on Sunday evening. According to the release, Blake stepped down "in the best interest" of the program. Blake has hired legal representation, suggesting that his involvement in the investigation will not end with his resignation.
The report details 61 calls from Blake's university-issued cell phone to Whichard in the 61 days between November 5 and January 4. That date in January happens to be the day that six North Carolina juniors announced they would return for their senior season rather than enter the NFL draft. Of those six players (Marvin Austin, Greg Little, Deunta Williams, Kendric Burney, Bruce Carter, and Quan Sturdivant), only Carter and Sturdivant were cleared to play in the season opener against LSU.
As for the response from the university?
Asked if it is ever acceptable to have that level of communication between a coach and an agent, UNC chancellor Holden Thorp said in an e-mail: “Whether the level of contact is acceptable or unacceptable depends on what they talked about, and I have no idea what they were discussing. Clearly, Mr. Wichard and Coach Blake have a very close relationship. All things being equal, it’s probably better not to have a close personal relationship with a sports agent if you’re an NCAA coach.”Obviously, with the nature of the investigations in Chapel Hill covering both agent-related issues as well as possible academic improprieties, it is difficult to distinguish which of the allegations are tied to which players. But with a possible subpoena for Marvin Austin coming from the North Carolina Secretary of State's office, it is hard not to think that this could get messy.
Secretary of State Elaine Marshall already announced her investigation into possible violations of the Uniform Athlete Agent Act. North Carolina is one of 42 states that govern contact between amateurs and agents. The laws prohibit agents from offering gifts before a contract is signed, and the punishment can be civil or criminal.
Posted on: August 31, 2010 1:29 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 2:37 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
It's a rather precarious situation in Chapel Hill these days. UNC coach Butch Davis is under heavy fire for allegations of academic impropriety, evidence of which was uncovered while the NCAA investigated a separate issue: whether some Tar Heels had received improper benefits from agents. Not good.
The academic allegations just came down last week, and now as many as a dozen unnamed players are in limbo as the school awaits the results of NCAA investigations. The NCAA doesn't have long--the Tar Heels' season starts on Saturday against No. 21 LSU, so every second that UNC can get with the final verdict known helps their preparation for the game.
Thus, shouldn't North Carolina take the precautionary step of indefinitely suspending every athlete involved until they're cleared (or, y'know, not) by the NCAA? Yes, in some sense, that's a presumption of guilt before innocence, but that's the position the school's basically forced to take. After all, if the Tar Heels win but use even one guy who's found to be ineligible, that game's getting forfeited--and make no mistake, the NCAA will likely not be in the mood to grant UNC the luxury of merely "vacating" the win.
So why not prepare like they're all shelved and make a public stand in defense of your academic department's integrity? Granted, "UNC and academic impropriety" is a bell that's not getting unrung, but the redemption's got to start sometime--it might as well be as soon as possible.