ACC: Holden Thorp

ACC's lunchtime links

June, 6, 2013
Watch out for #andrea on the East Coast.

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April, 19, 2013
Have a great weekend!

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February, 19, 2013
A bit of news coming out of Miami these days ...
North Carolina chancellor Holden Thorp put it bluntly when asked why the ACC Council of Presidents chose to add Louisville over Cincinnati and UConn.

Forget academics.

This was all about sports. You have got to appreciate the honesty in his comments.

"It was really all of the presidents who discussed it, and I think that what we felt was that what the ACC needed the most was to add the most exciting sports program that we could," Thorp said on an ACC teleconference Wednesday discussing Louisville's addition. "That is the way to ensure that the success of the ACC in sports was successful enough to allow us to keep our group together and we talked about that extensively.

"But Louisville, [president] Jim Ramsey is an excellent leader in higher education and he’s done a lot with their university. It’s on an upward trajectory. We feel very good about the addition of Louisville in every respect, but our logic was that we wanted to make the ACC as exciting a sports conference as we possibly could and we felt that Louisville unambiguously did that for us the best."

Commissioner John Swofford was then asked specifically about whether football was the deciding factor in adding the Cardinals.

"The answer would be that we felt Louisville was the best fit for the Atlantic Coast Conference at this point in time in every respect," Swofford said. "When you look at Louisville, you see a university and an athletic program that has all the arrows pointed up. Tremendous uptick there, tremendous energy, so that’s my response to that. It’s always an overall fit in every respect, and I think that’s what we found."

So does this ensure a stable ACC moving forward?

"In working with our presidents over the last 10 days and listening to them and their commitment to the league and to each other, and now adding Louisville and the collective strength of this conference athletically and academically, I couldn’t feel any better about the future of this league," Swofford said.

A few other notes from the call:
  • Louisville will take Maryland's spot in the Atlantic Division, placing the Cardinals in the same grouping as Florida State, Clemson, NC State, Boston College, Wake Forest and Syracuse. Louisville also will take Maryland's spot as Virginia's crossover scheduling partner. The Atlantic is lookin' pretty tough these days.
  • Swofford said there has been no discussion about raising the $50 million exit fee.
  • As for the possibility of the ACC creating its own television network, Swofford said there had been some preliminary discussions but added, "You don’t do that just for the sake of doing that. You do that because it’s the right thing for your league financially and from an exposure standpoint moving ahead. ... We’ll continue to look at that. It seems to be the sexy thing in today’s world, but it also needs to be the right thing and the thing that’s best for our particular conference."

ACC's lunchtime links

September, 20, 2012
See you in Tally.

ACC's lunchtime links

September, 18, 2012
Set your DVRs for 2:30 p.m. this afternoon as our best pal HD makes an appearance on The Experts on ESPNU.

ACC's lunchtime links

June, 11, 2012
Another week closer to July media days and summer camp ...
North Carolina's infractions case with the NCAA came to an end Monday, nine months after the school received a notice of allegations, and eight months after its football coach was dismissed. Here is a timeline of the rough past couple of years for the Tar Heels' football program:

Dec. 16, 2006: John Blake is hired as a defensive assistant coach.

Aug. 2007: Jennifer Wiley begins employment with North Carolina's academic support center during her junior year.

April 21, 2008: Wiley emails "student-athlete 1" five Education 411 class papers containing conclusion paragraphs she wrote.

Nov. 2008: Wiley emails "student-athlete 3" a draft of a class assignment she made substantive changes to and composed the works-cited page.

March 7-14, 2009: "Student-athlete 5" receives $2,680 in lodging, airfare and training from "sports agent 1."

March 7 and 8, 2009: "Student-athlete 7 and 8" receive $242 in meals, lodging and transportation from a former student-athlete at the institution.

April 15, 2009: Wiley emailed "student-athlete 2" an outline for a Communication 270 paper containing a thesis statement and other substantive material she wrote.

May 2009: Wiley received an institutional award for tutoring excellence and received an undergraduate degree from UNC.

June 2009: Wiley emails "student-athlete 3" a draft of a class assignment that she made substantive changes to and wrote the works-cited page.

June 11, 2009: "Student-athlete 2" emails Wiley a draft of his Communication 224 paper and asks for information to include.

June 12, 2009: Wiley emails "student-athlete 2" a draft of his Communication 224 paper with approximately 2.5 pages of content written by her.

July 2009: Wiley emails "student-athlete 3" research she conducted for a course writing assignment and a draft of a class assignment that she added a works-cited page to. An academic support center employee informs the associate director of academic support program that Wiley is rumored to have visited football players at their residences.

July 3-5, 2009: "Student-athlete 5" receives $357 in air fare from "sports agent 2."

July 22-Aug. 1, 2009: "Student-athlete 5" receives $2,400 in lodging and training from "sports agent 1."

Aug. 2009: The director of academic support center and the assistant AD for certification discuss rumors of potential inappropriate relationships between Wiley and football players. Wiley is notified by the director of academic support center that her contract with UNC's academic support center will not be renewed by the school.

Sept. 30, 2009: UNC sends letter to Wiley instructing her it is not OK to continue providing tutoring services to student-athletes.

Sept. 2009-Aug. 2010: Wiley provides approximately 142 hours of free tutoring services to football players.

Feb. 2010: "Student-athlete 4" receives $375 in jewelry from "student-athlete 1."

Spring 2010: "Student-athlete 6" receives $120 in meal benefits from various financial advisors, in addition to $1,000 cash from "student-athlete 1."

March 2010: "Student-athlete 4" receives $1,234 in air fare and lodging from "student-athlete 1."

March 5-10, 2010: "Student-athlete 7" receives $1,235 in meals, lodging, transportation and entertainment benefits from a former student-athlete at the institution.

March 8-14, 2010: "Student-athlete 5" receives $1,262 in air fare and lodging from "sports agent 2."

March 11, 2010: Wiley pays $150 flight-change fee for "student-athlete 4."

April 10, 2010: "Student-athlete 6" receives $5,000 from a jeweler from Miami, who "student-athlete 5" met outside Kenan Memorial Football Stadium after a game.

April 24 and 25, 2010: "Student-athletes 3, 4 and 5" receive a total of $107 in lodging and entertainment benefits from "sports agent 2."

May 2010 first summer session: The director of football student-athlete development receives information from a staff member whose name he cannot remember about "student-athlete 5's" Twitter page containing excessive foul language. Said student-athlete tells the director that he removed the comments but the director does not check the page. The associate AD for football administration also reports that he received the information in May but did not view the page.

May 7 and 12, 2010: "Student-athlete 5" receives $299 in air fare benefits from "sports agent 2."

May 15, 2010: "Student-athletes 4 and 5" receive $1,326 and $1,018, respectively, in air fare, lodging, transportation and entertainment benefits from "sports agent 2."

May 21, 2010: "Student-athlete 8" travels with "former student-athlete 1" and "student-athlete 9" to Atlanta, where they meet with an agent and incur benefits from the agent.

May 22, 2010: "Student-athletes 8 and 9" receive a total of $140 in transportation benefits from the agent and $130 in lodging and transportation from a former student-athlete at UNC.

May 25-31, 2010: "Student athletes 4 and 5" receive $1,163 and $579, respectively, in air fare and lodging benefits from "sports agent 2." "Student athletes 4 and 6" receive $398 in entertainment benefits from an employee of "sports agency B." "Student-athlete 6" receives $323 in lodging and transportation benefits from an unknown individual.

May 28-31, 2010: "Student-athlete 8" receives $506 in air fare, lodging and entertainment benefits from "former student-athlete 1."

Aug. 20, 2010: Wiley pays a $1,789 fine for parking tickets for "student-athlete 4."

Sept. 5, 2010: Blake resigns.

Sept. 28, 2010: The enforcement staff sends a letter to Blake's attorney requesting additional financial documents.

Nov. 4, 2010: The enforcement staff leaves a voicemail with Wiley's attorney requesting an interview.

Nov. 12-Dec. 16, 2010: The enforcement staff leaves three voicemails to Wiley's attorney requesting an interview.

Jan. 3, 2011: The enforcement staff sends a letter to Wiley's attorney.

Jan. 19, 2011: Wiley's attorney sends a letter to the enforcement staff saying Wiley will not interview and that she understands she may be charged with unethical conduct for refusing to cooperate.

March 10, 2011: A notice of inquiry is sent to Blake's attorney requesting additional financial documents, as previously requested Sept. 28, 2010.

June 7, 2011: A notice of inquiry is sent to UNC.

June 13, 2011: The enforcement staff contacts Blake's attorney to request an additional interview and financial documents previously requested Sept. 28, 2010, and March 10, 2011. The attorney responds the same day and says Blake will not be made available for an additional interview.

June 21, 2011: UNC announces it has received a notice of allegations from the NCAA regarding its football program, reflecting a 12-month investigation by the NCAA and the school. The committee requests a written response by Sept. 19.

July 27, 2011: UNC chancellor Holden Thorp announces that head football coach Butch Davis has been dismissed, saying the decision has not been related to any change in the NCAA investigation but that it's the result of the cumulative damage to the school's reputation over the past year.

July 28, 2011: Everett Withers, a defensive assistant, is promoted to interim head football coach.

July 28, 2011: Dick Baddour says he plans to step down as athletic director after 14 years at the school.

Sept. 19, 2011: The committee receives UNC's response to the notice of allegations, which include self-imposed penalties of: a total of nine scholarship losses over three years, the vacation of all 16 wins in 2008 and 2009 and a two-year probation period.

Sept. 22, 2011: The committee and enforcement staff receive Blake's response to the notice of allegations.

Sept. 22, 2011: The enforcement staff conducts a prehearing conference with UNC.

Sept. 28. 2011: The enforcement staff conduits a prehearing conference with Blake.

Oct. 14, 2011: Bubba Cunningham is hired as the new AD from Tulsa.

Oct. 28, 2011: UNC appears before the committee.

Dec. 8, 2011: Larry Fedora is introduced as the 35th head coach of UNC football after leading Southern Miss to an 11-2 record and Conference USA title in 2011.

March 12, 2012: The NCAA hands out its punishment to UNC: a one-year bowl ban; the loss of six additional total scholarships over three years; an additional year of probation; and a three-year show cause penalty for Blake prohibiting him from any recruiting activity. UNC announces it will not appeal the penalties.

UNC leaders react to penalties

March, 12, 2012
There is still "The Carolina Way," former North Carolina athletic director Dick Baddour insisted during a teleconference Monday, a message that was echoed by both chancellor Holden Thorp and current AD Bubba Cunningham.

"Obviously this has been a painful, difficult experience — we don't like to have this kind of attention brought to any part of the university, especially one as visible a part of the athletic program," Thorp said. "But again, I think the recovery plan that we have with the hirings we've made and the steps we've taken I think shows that we're serious and we understand the seriousness of the case, but we also understand the importance of Carolina football to the UNC family. And I feel like we've done a good job of balancing all of those things."

Holden said the school considered appealing the sanctions this morning but came to the conclusion that it would not make sense given how long it would take, along with previous schools' successes with such procedures. Ultimately, he said, the Tar Heels wanted to move forward.

Cunningham said the additional six scholarship losses — in addition to the self-imposed nine — is the harshest of the penalties. The school discussed a self-imposed bowl ban for several weeks but decided against it because the school cooperated directly with the NCAA throughout the process.

The school will still receive an equal share of bowl revenue from the ACC, despite its bowl ban for the 2012 season. Current seniors on the roster are eligible to transfer without penalty because of the bowl ban.

North Carolina officials also stressed that former head coach Butch Davis "absolutely" gave full cooperation throughout the investigation.

ACC's lunchtime links

August, 12, 2011
Da links ...

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August, 8, 2011
Two-a-days? Pshh. Toughen up, buttercup ...

ACC's lunchtime links

August, 3, 2011
How many days until kickoff?
For an institution that overfloweth with pride in its academics, North Carolina certainly doesn’t look very smart right now.

The decision to fire Butch Davis will cost North Carolina’s athletic department far more than the $2.7 million it will likely owe its former football coach who, technically, was fired without cause.

“We recognize that $2.7 million may be what this ends up costing us,” chancellor Holden Thorp said, “and I’ve reached the conclusion that even though this is a terrible time, the athletic program will need to pay whatever it is we need to pay to make the separation happen.”

Oh, they’ll pay.

It will cost them fan support.

It will cost them recruits.

It will cost them years.

It will cost them wins.

It will cost them their longtime, loyal athletic director, who announced his resignation effective June 2012.

And the NCAA hasn’t even begun to levy sanctions for nine major violations.

North Carolina is in deeper than any other program in the country right now. Overnight, it went from a team reloading on both sides and capable of contending for the Coastal Division to a program completely in rebuilding mode. Dave Hooker of ESPN Recruiting wrote about how many UNC recruits are sticking with their commitments.

A word of advice, guys? Run. As in, 40-yard fast.

We’re talking about a year with an interim coach. Another season with a first-year head coach, who more than likely will be facing a postseason ban. A minimum of three more years until that staff recruits and develops the kinds of players the new coach wants in his system -- which will be a challenge because it would be shocking if the NCAA didn’t hand out some form of scholarship reductions.

Thorp could have saved himself and the football program a lot of agony if he would have taken a page from Ohio State’s playbook and blamed it all on the head coach. It would have been reasonable. Thorp said the trustees were unanimous in their decision to fire Davis. But they're firing him a week before fall camp starts because, because ... because??

“We’ve had a tough year,” Thorp said. “Nine NCAA allegations, continued questions about academics and the need to find a way to move forward, that’s why we’re here.”

Yet even as UNC fires Davis, it still insists he had no idea of the violations that occurred under his watch -- hence firing him without cause.

“I don’t believe he knew about the things that went on,” Thorp said.

Should he have known?

“I said I don’t believe he knew.”

Thorp said he has no regrets about not making the decision sooner.

“I feel like everything we’ve been through was required to get us to this point,” he said. “I know the timing is terrible, but whenever I did this, there would be somebody who would say the timing is terrible.”

And it will stay that way for years -- quite a price to pay.
North Carolina athletic director Dick Baddour will step down when his contract ends in June 2012, he announced this morning.

"[Chancellor Holden Thorp] and I have had conversations about staying beyond that date to help stabilize the program after the NCAA made its ruling," Baddour said. "However, as someone who has hired coaches for the past 14 years, I know that it's even more imperative that my successor be able to name the next permanent head coach. Therefore, I have asked Chancellor Thorp to begin the search for an athletic director as soon as possible so that person may be available to hire a permanent football coach in time to recruit next season's freshman class. It is my responsibility to do what is in the best interest of the program, and this is my decision."

The unpaid parking tickets of several UNC football players pale in comparison to the 42-page document the NCAA just buried the University of North Carolina in.

This isn't just Butch Davis' problem. Consider it now a "major" problem for UNC's football program, athletic department and overall institution.

[+] EnlargeJohn Blake
Sean Meyers/Icon SMIFormer assistant coach John Blake was sent one of three letters from the NCAA regarding allegations against the North Carolina football program.
The NCAA wrote three separate letters to former UNC assistant coach John Blake, former UNC tutor Jennifer Wiley and UNC chancellor Holden Thorp, informing them of the allegations against the football program:
"You should understand that all of the allegations charged in the notice of allegations are considered to be potential major violations of NCAA legislation, unless designated as secondary violations."

North Carolina has officially joined much of the college football world in the summer of discontent.

After a yearlong investigation into North Carolina's football program, the university on Tuesday released a 42-page document detailing the allegations, and it's not pretty:
Page 20: It was reported that during the 2009-10 academic year and August 2010, Jennifer Wiley, former academic support center tutor, provided approximately $3,500 in impermissible extra benefits to football student-athletes. ... Wiley paid $150 for an airline ticket in May 2010, and $ 1,789 in parking violation expenses on August 20, 2010, for then football student-athlete ...
Page 23: It was reported that during 2009 and 2010, seven football student athletes received $27,097.38 in benefits from individuals, some of whom trigger NCAA agent legislation.
Page 33: It is alleged that from 2007 to 2010, then assistant football coach John Blake partnered with Gary Wichard, National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) certified agent, and Pro Tect Management to represent individuals in the marketing of their athletic abilities in violation of NCAA legislation. Specifically, Blake was employed and compensated by Pro Tect Management to influence football student-athletes to hire Wichard to represent them in marketing their athletic abilities and reputations.
Page 35: It is alleged that from May 2007 to October 2009, then assistant football coach John Blake did not report $31,000 in athletically related outside income from Pro Tect Management, a sports agency representing athletes competing in the National Football League, National Basketball League and Major League Baseball.

Davis loyalists will be happy to know that no letters were specifically addressed to him, and that his name is mentioned only once in the entire document, in the context that the NCAA would like him to appear before the NCAA's Committee on Infractions on Oct. 28.

There were, however, allegations that the "institution" failed to properly monitor the conduct of Chris Hawkins, who was allowed access to the facilities and participated in one-on-one drills with the players. And the "institution" failed to monitor the social networking of the players in 2010. And here's the kicker ... the "institution" did not follow up on information that "indicated a risk of improper benefits being provided when reported by [a student athlete] to administrators within the football program."

Somebody knew something was going on and "the institution" let it continue.

North Carolina has 90 days to respond to this, and considering the massive, overwhelming amount of information the NCAA is seeking -- documents, transcripts, receipts, former players' previous tweets, phone records, Blake's credit reports -- odds are the university is going to need every one of them.

It's far from over. The NCAA wants answers. Lots of them.

How much Davis really knew now seems like only part of the equation.

This is bigger than Butch Davis.