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What Should Have Butch Davis Known and When Should Have He Known It?

So how did you spend the official Worst Day to Be a Carolina Fan? If you're Butch Davis, you spent it reading calls for your termination and trying to explain exactly how all this happened without your knowledge. And some of those explanations... need work:

"A lot of people have asked that question: How could a coach not know about a player?" Davis said. "But there's 27,000 students at the University of North Carolina. Clearly, obviously I'm not responsible for all of those students."

Davis continued: "... We don't monitor, in the past we haven't, monitored where they've gone. ... It's very difficult to know where every kid goes all the time."

I don't think anyone's demanding Butch Davis keep track of 27,000 people – although if he's going to start, there's a raging party on the third floor of Teague this weekend. BYO' man. People may expect Davis to keep track of the 105 athletes involved in the program however. That somehow seems more reasonable.

The sad thing is, there's a good defense for this. NCAA bylaws do limit contact between coaches and players in the offseason. It's not as strict as basketball, where the things coaches can't do with athletes over the summer include "observing student-athletes in any basketball activities even if such activities are not arranged by the institution's coach," but it's regulated. I mean, how much clearer could the NCAA be?

(a) Conditioning Activities. Student-athletes may participate in conditioning activities pursuant to Bylaw; as follows:

(1) January 1 until the Start of the Summer Conditioning Period- Bowl Subdivision. [FBS] In bowl subdivision football, between January 1 and the start of summer conditioning, an institution shall conduct its out-of-season conditioning period as follows: (Adopted: 4/24/03 effective 5/1/03, Revised: 12/15/06)

(a) An institution shall designate eight weeks as student-athlete discretionary time (see Bylaw 17.02.14). The designated eight weeks (each week must be seven consecutive calendar days) must be placed on file in writing in the department of athletics prior to January 1. Any changes in the designated weeks are permissible and shall be on file in the office of the institution's athletics director. Institutions are permitted to designate institutional vacation periods (e.g., holiday break, spring break) as student- athlete discretionary time. (Adopted: 4/24/03 effective 5/1/03)

(b) Required conditioning, weight-training activities and review of game films shall remain permis- sible outside of the eight weeks designated as student-athlete discretionary time. A student-athlete's participation in such activities shall be limited to a maximum of eight hours per week, of which not more that two hours per week may be spent on the viewing of game film. (Adopted: 4/24/03 effective 5/1/03 to begin implementation at the beginning of the 2003 summer conditioning period)

(c) Spring football practice per Bylaw 17.11.6-(b) shall remain permissible outside of the eight weeks.
(Adopted: 4/24/03 effective 5/1/03)

(d) Days outside the academic year before the start of the summer conditioning period that are not al- ready designated as student-athlete discretionary time shall be considered as such. (Adopted: 4/24/03 effective 5/1/03)

(2) Summer Conditioning Period. [FBS/FCS] Between the start of summer conditioning and the start of preseason practice, an institution shall conduct its out of season conditioning period as follows: (Adopted: 4/24/03 effective 5/1/03, Revised: 12/15/06)

(a) Institutions shall count back nine weeks from the first permissible reporting date for preseason prac- tice. During this nine-week period, institutions shall designate one week as student-athlete discre- tionary time. (Adopted: 4/24/03 effective 5/1/03)

(b) During the remaining eight weeks of the summer conditioning period student-athletes may be in- volved in voluntary weight training and conditioning activities pursuant to Bylaw and prospective student-athletes may be involved in voluntary weight training and conditioning activities pursuant to Bylaw Such activities are limited to eight hours per week. (Adopted: 4/24/03 effective 5/1/03, Revised: 1/14/08)

That's a lot of lawyer-speak, for "if Marvin Austin decides to jet off to California, he's not really going to check in with the coaches first."

Not knowing about John Blake's extracurricular sources of income, is a little dodgy, however. I can believe, as Davis said "No one knows what credit cards that anybody - I don't know what credit cards you carry, you don't know what credit cards that I carry - I mean people have private lives. That was a total, absolutely revelation to me. I had no idea, and don't even know that that's actually true." If Blake was taking money and keeping mum about it, there's not much you can do to make that come to light. If that money was finding its way to players (there's been no evidence of this, but it must be considered at this point) or if recruits were being promised some things they shouldn't, I can't see how Davis could not be aware of this. 

Either way, Davis is not going to resign at this point, and Baddour still appears to back him. Which leaves us roughly where we were before, waiting for shoes six through fifteen to drop. And with the NCAA officially a part of the academic investigation now, this is going to go on for some time. On the bright side, Da'Norris Searcy has been cleared to play, and there are rumors more statuses will be finalized tomorrow. In the meantime, there's just more of this, because it isn't going away for quite awhile.