Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Two days after “fully and completely” accepting responsibility for the crisis that led to an NCAA investigation into his program , Butch Davis is out as North Carolina’s football coach.
“To restore confidence in the University of North Carolina and our football program, it’s time to make a change,” Thorp said in the release “What started as a purely athletic issue has begun to chip away at this University’s reputation. I have been deliberate in my approach to understanding this situation fully, and I have worked to be fair to everyone involved.
"However, I have lost confidence in our ability to come through this without harming the way people think of this institution. Our academic integrity is paramount and we must work diligently to protect it. The only way to move forward and put this behind us is to make a change.”
Thorp said the decision was not related to any change in the NCAA investigation, but that it was the result of the cumulative damage to the University’s reputation over the past year.
“Athletics and football are an important part of this University, and a successful football program is essential to the overall health of our athletic program,” Thorp said in the statement “That’s why we have to put this behind us and move forward.”
Added Baddour: “The last 13 months have been some of the most difficult that anyone associated with the athletic department and football program have dealt with. At this time, a decision has been made to change the leadership of the football program to help the entire University community move forward.
“I want to thank Butch Davis and his family for their four-plus years of service and dedication to the University and the Chapel Hill community,” continued Baddour. “My staff and I will work with Chancellor Thorp to transition to an interim head coach as soon as possible.
"It is critical that we do all we can to help our students and other staff members on the football team since preseason training camp begins in just eight days.”
Thorp and Baddour will meet with the media on Thursday at 11 a.m. at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill (Redbud Room).
"I think it's going to set the program back 10 years,"
Monday, July 25, 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
PINEHURST - In the most serious address to the media of his 15-year tenure, ACC commissioner John Swofford called today for reforms to a college athletic infrastructure that he said has lost the confidence of the public.
Friday, July 22, 2011
LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson comes into the 2011 season with questions surrounding him. In 2010, his performance was inconsistent, and it seemed he lacked confidence.
Head coach Les Miles said he thinks Jefferson has confidence, and he doesn't let who's looking over his shoulder affect him.
"I think he steps forward to do the things he can do," Miles said. "He's been a very productive quarterback for us."
Jefferson said the criticism motivates him.
"It helps me workout harder, but at the same time, it helps me improve what people feel I lack," he said.
Offensive lineman T-Bob Hebert said he's happy to have Jefferson as the team's leader and quarterback.
"Jordan has really proven how resilient he is," Hebert said. "He keeps fighting and working to get better."
- Laura Owens
Vanderbilt’s new head coach, James Franklin, made his first appearance at SEC Media Days Friday morning. As Vanderbilt’s third coach in three years, Franklin said he’s looking for commitment from both the players and the fans.
“Everybody has to understand we can’t do this alone,” he said. “It’s not the players, it’s not just the coaches. It’s our alumni base, it’s the community, everybody. We need this fan base to unite like it never has before.”
Linebacker Chris Marve said Franklin did a good job of bridging the gap between the new coaching staff and the players.
“They’re really personable and I’ve grown attached to them in the eight or nine months that they’ve been here,” he said. “I’m thankful to play for this staff.”
Perhaps the biggest question mark for Alabama this fall is at quarterback.
Greg McElroy, a two-year starter, is with the NFL's New York Jets. The two candidates for the open position are redshirt sophomore AJ McCarron and redshirt freshman Phillip Sims.
So where does the quarterback competition stand?
“It doesn’t stand anywhere,” said head coach Nick Saban. “It stands like it stands. We have two guys competing for the quarterback position. We’re going to continue to manage those guys trough fall camp. We have confidence in both of their abilities.”
Saban said he expected his quarterback to be a game manager.
“When you manage the game, you make all the people on the offensive field feel like you’re in command, and you’re in control in terms of direction,” he said.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley is against mandating multi-year scholarships for athletics.
“I hear about how it’s so awful when a player gets a scholarship taken away,” he said. “I’m sitting there going, Universities give academic scholarships all the time, and if a student doesn’t meet certain requirements, they take it away from them. It’s not different to me in athletics.”
Dooley said allow the market to act. If a coach is kicking people off the team all the time, that’ll affect the team in recruiting.
“Are we going to allow the institutions and programs to set their rules, then allow the market to handle which way they go and the success they have, or are we going to take over and define what everybody does all the time?” he said.
DURHAM - North Carolina football coach Butch Davis said today that he will release records of the business calls he made on his personal cell phone in response to a media public records request.
Media outlets have sought to review Davis' personal cell phone records in hopes of shedding light on an investigation that has resulted in NCAA allegations of major violations against the Tar Heel program.
Davis said his personal cell phone records were reviewed "completely and entirely" last fall by UNC's counsel, and he plans to release them "pretty soon." He said he plans to redact personal calls from the records.
"It’s a personal cell phone that I’ve had for over 10 years," Davis said. "And so we’ll redact and I will go through it and things like my wife, my son, my dad, my sister, close personal friends and family members, those types of things. Anything that has anything to do with UNC and business, those will be completely open for public record."
Davis met for eight minutes today with reporters following the annual Triangle Pigskin Preview charity luncheon that features coaches from UNC, Duke, East Carolina, N.C. Central and N.C. State.
In his first public comments since UNC received its notice of allegations from the NCAA in June, Davis said the university has done a "remarkable" job in full cooperation with the NCAA.
The NCAA on June 21 sent UNC chancellor Holden Thorp a notice alleging nine major violations. The investigation of impermissible benefits and academic misconduct began in July of 2010 and resulted in 14 players missing games in the 2010 season, with seven missing the entire season.
UNC must provide a written response by Sept. 19 and is scheduled to meet with the Committee on Infractions on Oct. 28.
"Now obviously we have the opportunity for 90 days to review those allegations and decide which ones they think they might want to contest and which ones they don’t think there is any contest to it," Davis said, "and in October, we’ll go in front of the infractions committee and some time thereafter we’ll find out what comes out of the entire investigation."
Davis said he plans to join school officials when they meet with the Committee on Infractions. He declined to respond to any of the allegations, saying the NCAA has asked UNC officials to refrain from comment, and that athletics director Dick Baddour is the spokesman for the school on the case.
"There’s a limited amount that any of us know," Davis said. "I think, certainly, as has been talked about many, many times is that Dick Baddour as the athletic director, he’s been the point guy. And he along with our compliance department and Chancellor Thorp, they're the ones that are in the know on absolutely everything. There’s a lot of things that I don’t need to know, don’t know. And they’ve handled everything."
Throughout the NCAA investigation, Davis said, he has expected to remain UNC's coach. He was not personally cited in the notice of allegations, which spared UNC the damaging "lack of institutional control" charge but did accuse the school of failure to monitor some violations in the program.
"I totally expected to be the football coach," Davis said. "I’ve been very, very fortunate. I’ve had great support from the administration and the board of trustees, the athletic director, chancellor Thorp. And I’m excited about the future of our program. I’m looking forward to the 2011 football season. We’ve got some good, young, talented kids."
Reigning national champion Auburn lost more than 20 seniors from the 2010 squad, but the goal hasn't changed.
“The standard for Auburn and the goals for Auburn, no matter if we’re going to play 22 freshman, will not change,” said head coach Gene Chizik.
Chizik said this spring practice featured young players with lots of energy, competing for vacated jobs.
“Our football team this time last year didn’t know what great looked like,” he said. “I’ve said that several times. The good thing is a majority of the guys we have coming back know what great looks like it.”
For the 2011 season, Georgia will open against Boise State in Atlanta. While Georgia struggled in 2010, going 6-7 overall, 3-5 in the SEC, head coach Mark Richt said a win against Boise State could give the program new life.
“When we were making the decision, should we play in the Chick-Fil-A, should we play Boise State, where we were at that time was a decline in our record, a decline on how people perceived our program,” Richt said. “What better way to send a surge of energy in this program than to schedule a game like that?”
Richt did acknowledge the risk as well.
“There’s risk in playing a team that could whip your tail because they might whip your tail, but in order for us to get back to where we want to be, which is highly ranked and highly thought of, we need to play this game,” he said.
The Kentucky Wildcats finished their 2010 season 6-7 overall, 2-6 in the SEC. The Wildcats are not normally known as a dominant force in football, so head coach Joker Phillips said his team has a new theme this year: Rise.
Phillips cited a win over South Carolina last season as evidence the Wildcats can do just that.
“We have shown that Kentucky can compete in this league,” Phillips said.
But to compete every week, quarterback Morgan Newton said, some fine tuning is necessary.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re the most prepared team, the smartest team,” he said. “It just comes down to winning games. We’ve got to really want to win more than our opponents.”
Despite the loss of high-caliber offensive players like Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke, Newton said there are players ready to fill the void.
"It’ll be different not having them out because that’s what I know of Kentucky football, having those guys around and back there making plays,” Newton said. “It’ll be different, but I think we’ve got a great group of guys that’ll come in. That’s what they recruit for.”
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Florida's new head coach, Will Muschamp, said at the SEC's media days that because he's defensive minded, offensive coordinator and former Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis is important to his success.
"I think the worst thing you can do in leadership position is be something you're not," he said. "I'm a defensive coach. I hired Charlie Weis to run our offense. Having him in the staff room is really important to me."
Quarterback John Brantley said it's been great having Weis.
"You grow up watching a team like the New England Patriots and see the offense he runs, you just don't expect to have him as a coach," he said."It's an honor to play for him."
Defensive end William Green said the defensive changes Muschamp has been making mostly revolve around scheming and personnel.
"He's big about doing things 'The Florida Way,' playing hard, running to the ball," Green said. "He's a bit more intense."
In taking on this new program, Muschamp said not everything needs fixing.
"I think more than anything if its not broken don't fix it," he said. "Urban (Meyer) did some great things that we're going to continue to do. There are some really good things at Florida."
Arkansas running back Knile Davis finished his sophomore season second in rushing in the SEC with 1,322 yards and 13 touchdowns. Yet, for the 2011 pre-season, he wasn't one of the two backs voted first-team All-SEC by the coaches.
"I feel like he should be a first team player," said Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino. "That's something that throughout all the positions in this conference, everyone has good players."
The first team running backs were Alabama's Trent Richardson and South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore.
"I think I'm right up there with them," Davis said. "I'm just going to go out there and try to compete hard and do better this year and hopefully they'll put me first."
Davis, who turned 18 last October, has proven to be a great asset on a team that in recent years has turned towards a passing offense.
"It was great to add that dimension," Davis said. "It kind of helped us out down the stretch."
Davis admitted to stealing techniques from other running backs around the SEC.
"I watch film on them," he said. "Mark Ingram has a quick first cut. He hits the hole very hard. You learn things like that from those guys."
Petrino said one of the first things to notice about Davis is his work ethic.
"In the weight room, he's continued to get stronger and faster," Petrino said. "He just did a great job in the weight room this past week. In the winter when we had our testing days, he went in there with every group; he didn't have to be there.
"He was there cheering guys on, spotting guys. I's become extremely important for him to show how much he cares."
-- Laura Owens
The SEC and ESPN are teaming up to make a series of four one-hour documentaries highlighting traditions, rivalries and unique stories of the conference, slated for ESPNU.
The first in the 'Storied' series, "Herschel," is scheduled for Sept. 7, and focuses on former Georgia and NFL standout Herschel Walker.
"The' Storied' series will be an opportunity to take fans behind the scenes of some of the compelling stories that have been part of the history of the Southeastern Conference," SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said.
The second documentary, highlighting the first SEC football championship game, will air in December.
-- Laura Owens
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Former North Carolina defensive lineman Marvin Austin's comments on Twitter first drew the attention of NCAA investigators last year as he tweeted about a party in Miami and other good times.
Wednesday, in the aftermath of a Durham Superior Court ruling that denied his former Tar Heels teammate Michael McAdoo an injunction that would have allowed McAdoo to resume playing with the Tar Heels this fall, Austin (above) unleashed a series of tweets on his @anchormanaustin account expressing his frustration and apparently threatening to reveal more about North Carolina's football program and the ongoing NCAA investigation.
Shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday, the following message was posted on the @anchormanaustin account: "I'm so heated right now...justice will provail..even if I have to spill the beans"
That tweet was followed by nine more posted over the course of Thursday evening (spelling is Austin's):
This is so frustrating right now..I can't rap my head around it..I wish I could understand but maybe its not logical enough to understand
Twitter I'm not bitter I just don't like the way my friend, teammate,brother was mislead,misued, and ostrisized from the program for the
Same reasons that others got suspened and are able to play for because I know exactly the details in each case and its noway that this young
Man should have his dream snatched from him like the #ncaa has done.I can tell you so many stories that would be mind boggling in comparison
Man should have his dream snatched from him like the #ncaa has done.I can tell you so many stories that would be mind boggling in comparison
Trust me I know....I love my school..I chose to come here when nobody thought it was smart to do..but I just wish the administration stood
And stop the cowardly acts when the are in front of the ncaa just tell them what you told us...don't turn and twist your story to look
Appealing to the Ncaa and presure the 21 year old athlete to say and do things that aren't in there best interest...its so much that's not
Said it stings when I think about it Unc true fans understand how we as players love this place it tatted in blood for most guys on the team
This morning, Austin, who was drafted by the New York Giants in this spring's NFL draft, offered one more Tweet:
Up and off to work....great day to be a tarheeel....imma grind tell my feet fall off #grindmode