Wait...what's that? That was a new email from Chancellor Holden Thorp?
In case you missed(and believe me you didn't) UNC released an email from Chancellor Holden Thorp which basically covered the same ground he did during the press conference last week, You can read the letter here via WRAL. If you go into hoping to pick up on some nuance or an actual reason why Thorp pulled the trigger on Butch Davis now versus earlier or later, you won't find one. Thorp did sort of address the timeline of his support pegging the release of the notice of allegations as the point where starting to back away from Davis. That appears to be a response to those who say Thorp lied all along.
Not to re-hash this but I'm bored so here we go.
Thorp says when the notice of allegations hit, he started to think about making a change. Of course Thorp had to already know what was in the notice of allegations before it became public. Everything I have read, said UNC knew what the NCAA knew so the simple release of the NOA wasn't enough to make Thorp weak in the knees. However the release of that information to people with a fair amount of influence on the chancellor would make a huge difference. If you are looking for some kind of reason why Thorp turned away from Davis with the NOA, it probably had to do with internal forces pressing in on him once the NCAA put its cards on the table.
Had Thorp decided to fire Davis six weeks ago, the timing would have certainly been better. UNC wouldn't have an interim coach less than a week on the job trying to plug holes in his staff a day or two before the team starts practice. It would have also given Thorp something tangible to point to as an explanation for the decision. People still would have been pissed off, especially the hardcore Butch folks but there certainly would have been less confusion.
Anyway, if that wasn't enough excitement for today, Thorp threw another log on the massive tire fire which is UNC's PR handling over the football scandal over the past week. Thorp felt compelled to comment to the N&O on the fact Butch Davis had offered his son, Drew, a scholarship without checking with either AD Dick Baddour or Thorp himself first.
University of North Carolina chancellor Holden Thorp said today that he was disappointed that former football coach Butch Davis offered son Drew Davis a football scholarship without consulting with Thorp or UNC athletic director Dick Baddour.
Thorp added, once again, that there was no one reason for Davis’ firing July 27, but rather a “collection of problems” as UNC faces NCAA allegations of nine major violations and an Oct. 28 hearing before of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions.
Drew Davis is a senior quarterback at East Chapel Hill High. Thorp said that with all of the controversy surrounding the program, it would have been better for Butch Davis to talk with Thorp and Baddour before offering Drew a scholarship.
“I found out about that a couple months ago when I saw it online,” Thorp said during a telephone interview today, “and yes, I was disappointed that neither the athletic director nor I knew about that.”
Searching for a point to this comment from Thorp is a little like going on a snipe hunt. Not to mention, Thorp may have committed a secondary NCAA violation by discussing a recruit by name. Otherwise the only reason I can think of for this being a huge deal is that Thorp felt as though Davis wasn't paying enough heed to the severity of the situation. I guess Thorp was under the impression Davis would discuss potential PR land minds with Baddour. Offering his son, who received academic help from disgraced former tutor Jennifer Wiley, a scholarship could create potential PR problems for UNC. I guess Thorp felt Davis should have run it by Baddour before doing it. If his kind of thing was viewed as insubordination by Thorp, it might be another piece to this rather confusing puzzle.
But wait, there is more! Butch Davis is taking exception to Thorp's comment about his son and has released a statement.
"I’m disappointed Chancellor Thorp has chosen to mention our son publicly as a part of his explanation for the decision to terminate my job," Davis said. "The first time I was made aware the chancellor had any concerns whatsoever about the recruiting of my son was the Friday before I was fired — and he did not communicate those concerns to me personally. Once I was made aware that he had become uneasy about the situation, I immediately called him to discuss it. I left a message on his voice mail that was not returned."
"My wife and I had also decided that in addition to the financial gifts we already make to the university annually, we would also contribute a scholarship through UNC’s Family Scholarship Fund so a member of an employee’s family could attend the university," Davis said.
"It's clear Chancellor Thorp knew for some time that Drew was being recruited by our football program. But he expressed no concerns to me whatsoever. I can assure you that if he'd given me any indication during those months that he was the least bit concerned, I would gladly have taken the time to sit down and discuss the issue with him."
Well isn't that fan-freaking-tastic. Now we have the former coach responding to things the chancellor says because the chancellor decided to discuss the former coach's son by name to the media which is probably not a good idea to begin with. What is intresting here is Davis' assertion that he called Thorp the Friday before he was fired to discuss the issue. Thorp apparently never returned the call which makes all his angst now to appear to be a tad overblown. That is, unless Thorp had already decided to fire Davis at this point and did not want any more contact with him than necessary before doing the deed.
At this point Thorp needs to stay away from making public statements about the football situation. Baddour is still the AD, let him handle those issues. Every time the chancellor opens his mouth, he seemingly makes it worse. Plus, if Butch Davis is going to toss grenades back, I am not sure that is something you want happening with the committee of infractions hearing hanging out there.