The no-win scenario.
WTVD's Mark Armstrong with a few tweets this afternoon on the potential release of Butch Davis' personal cell phone records.
UNC and Butch specifically are NOT contesting release of '216' phone records. Am told Butch is personally going over records before release.(Link)
No guess on when we'll get them, but we will. Butch, I'm told, doesn't want high profile non-involved friends to have #'s splashed around.(Link)
Obviously how much, and what Butch chooses to omit will be of interest. UNC, I'm told, is not involved in that process.(Link)
A little background. During the course of UNC releasing various phone records and what not to the media it was discovered that Butch Davis had not used his UNC issued cell phone but rather kept using a phone with a 216 area code. That area code was from the Cleveland, OH area indicating that Davis simply never switched phones after he lost his job with the Cleveland Browns. As the media began reviewing other phone records, such as John Blake's, they found Davis' phone number and was able to confirm it belonged to the Tar Heel head coach.
Since then the ABC crowd has held the 216 phone records up as the final clue so Indiana Jones can find the Holy Grail. They are quite certain if we could all somehow see these records then Davis' culpability would be fully realized and UNC would get the death penalty or something. What will likely happen here is what 99.9 The Fan's Joe Ovies actually predicted a few weeks back on Twitter. The records will be released but redacted because there are undoubtedly some high profile numbers on the list who would appreciate Davis' discretion. There are also various friends and family members who would probably appreciate not having the media cold call them. The ultimate result will be utterly and totally predictable. The critics and crack message board investigators will spin conspiracy theories and cry foul that Davis is hiding phone numbers which would proves he is guilty. Nothing new or juicy will be found in the records which means the whole business will have been for naught. In short, no one will be happy.
The one nagging question I still have is whether the NCAA had access to these records. Given that Davis is willing to release them, apart from UNC's intervention and without prodding of the legal persuasion I would think the NCAA has already been down this road. Plus, there was an interesting tidbit in the NCAA's COI report against LSU this week(emphasis mine)
The former assistant coach knowingly committed violations and induced others to break NCAA rules. He also took actions designed to conceal the violations, including failing to report his violations to compliance personnel, using a phone unknown to the compliance office to make impermissible calls, and failing to disclose the existence of the second phone in a timely fashion. Therefore, the committee imposes a one-year show-cause period upon the former assistant coach.
Translation: The assistant coach used a burn phone to avoid his calls being tracked. So that begs the question. How is this different from Davis using his personal cell phone to make calls? I can only speculate on an answer but there are at least two possible differences I can think of. First of all, UNC knew Davis used his personal cell phone and not the school issued one. They would know this because no calls ever showed up on the one UNC issued and secondly, if they wanted to call Davis guess which number they used? Secondly it is possible the NCAA asked for the 216 phone records and was given access which might explain why Davis is willing to part with them without much of a fight. In reading the LSU report, the assistant coaches' refusal to cooperate on the second cell phone was a major problem which is why he got teed up with a show-cause. Assuming the NCAA asked, it is reasonable to speculate Davis agreed otherwise it would have been mentioned in the notice of allegations. If the NCAA didn't ask, then obviously the 216 phone records are still a live ball which the committee on infractions might pounce on in October. However the fact Davis is willing to release makes me think the contents of the records have already been factored into the equation.
Since tomorrow is Thursday it would be no great shock if we saw the records or some other slap upside the head occurs.