As recently as Monday, former North Carolina football coach Butch Davis was defending the universitys handling of the NCAA investigation of his team and denying he had considered resigning. A timeline of the investigation and the university administrations repeated statements of support for Davis before his announced firing Wednesday:
July 12-13: NCAA investigators interview an undisclosed number of athletes at UNC, including defensive tackle Marvin Austin and wide receiver Greg Little of the Tar Heels football team, regarding whether players received improper benefits from sports agents.
Aug. 10: Former UNC player Cam Thomas says former UNC teammate and NFL player Kentwan Balmer paid for Thomas and Austin to train in California a possible violation of NCAA rules in the summer of 2009.
Aug. 26: UNC announces an investigation of possible academic misconduct involving football players and a former undergraduate tutor who also once worked for coach Butch Davis. Chancellor Holden Thorp says he has every confidence in the ability of athletic director Dick Baddour and Davis to lead the university through the NCAA investigation.
Sept. 1: Austin is suspended indefinitely for breaking team rules and neglecting his responsibilities to the team.
Sept. 3: UNC declares seven football players, including Austin and Little, ineligible for the season opener against Louisiana State. Six other players are withheld from the game as the investigations continue.
Sept. 5: Associate head football coach John Blake resigns.
Sept. 8: Phone records show frequent communications between Blake and sports agent Gary Wichard in the 61 days leading up to the Jan. 4 decision by six UNC football players to not enter the NFL draft.
Sept. 10: Chancellor Thorp says the plan right now is for Davis to remain the head coach at UNC. Competitive, big-time football is a hazardous undertaking, but the plan right now is for him to be the coach next year, Thorp says. Hes done everything weve asked him to do to get to the bottom of this, and were pleased with him.
Sept. 17: Investigators from the states Secretary of States Office interview Austin about possible contacts with sports agents.
Sept. 22: Investigators from the state Secretary of States Office interview Blake. UNC defensive backs Kendric Burney and Deunta Williams are ordered to repay benefits and serve suspensions after being ruled in violation of NCAA agent benefits and preferential treatment rules.
Sept. 22: Davis emails Baddour and copies Chancellor Thorp, requesting counseling for players involved in the NCAA probe.
Sept. 30: Davis says he is not resigning and Chancellor Thorp says he isnt firing the coach. Both of them, as well as Baddour, agree there need to be corrections in the program.
And to make those corrections with Butch Davis as the coach is, again, by far the most efficient way to create the kind of program we want, Thorp says. So long as I believe hes committed to the values weve talked about and the corrections we need to make to get there, I want to have him for my coach.
Why do I believe in him? Thorps adds. Butch was a high school teacher, and his whole family is committed to education and his whole interest in college football has been to help these young men get an education. Thats what he told [former chancellor] James Moeser and the trustees and Dickie [Baddour] when he was hired. I think theres been a lapse there, but thats truly what he believes, and so thats why I believe in him. And the people who think they know what to do about this havent been in the room for the hours Ive been talking to him.
Oct. 11: Austin is officially dismissed from the UNC football program.
Oct. 21: A survey by Public Policy Polling reveals that 41 percent of voters describing themselves as UNC fans approve of the job Davis is doing as coach, while 20 percent disapprove. 57 percent of those fans believe Davis should keep his job, and only 14 percent believe he should be fired.
Oct. 28: The N&O, The Charlotte Observer and other media organizations sue UNC-CH officials to get public records related to the NCAA investigation into the football program.
Nov. 4: Thorp tells the UNC Board of Governors that Davis does not appear to play any role in violations being investigated by the NCAA and that he is not in danger of losing his job.
Thorp: Baddour and I are not having meetings deciding his future. Hes our football coach.
Nov. 18: UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorp tells the UNC Board of Trustees that Davis and Baddour will both return to their jobs for the next year.
Thorp: Theyre going to be here next year, and were excited about Carolina football. Thorp also praises Davis and Baddour for their handling of the NCAA investigation into the program and later tells reporters that the university has no plans to impose self-sanctions while awaiting results from the NCAA.
Dec. 2: Through a statement from her lawyer, former UNC tutor Jennifer Wiley, who worked for the Davis family from December 2008 to May 2010, says: Coach Davis and his family played no part whatsoever in the matters under investigation as related to her. Baddour and Thorp also say they have no evidence Davis was aware of Wileys actions.
Dec. 29: In interviews with The N&O, members of the UNC Board of Trustees concede that Davis is ultimately accountable for problems within the Chapel Hill schools football program but say they also feel the NFL should take a tougher stance with sports agents who tempt college athletes. They also praise Chancellor Thorp and Baddour in their handling of the situation.
Jan. 7: Former UNC football coach John Bunting, who was fired from UNC and replaced by Butch Davis, says in regard to the football troubles that the university has been asleep at the wheel.
April 19: Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning rules that UNC improperly withheld documents that should have been provided to The N&O in response to an open-records lawsuit filed by a consortium of media groups against the school.
May 19: UNC confirms that the NCAA has returned to campus to interview at least one current football player.
June 15: The state Court of Appeals denies UNCs request to delay the release of phone records and parking tickets sought by The N&O and other media outlets.
June 21: The NCAA sends Thorp and the university a notice alleging nine major violations in the football program involving academic misconduct and impermissible benefits to players. The school gets 90 days to respond.
July 21: Davis agrees to release records of business calls he made on his personal cellphone.
Monday: At the ACC Football Kickoff media event in Pinehurst, Davis defends UNC, saying they have been cooperative and diligent in NCAA investigations. Davis also says he fully and completely takes responsibility for the schools NCAA troubles, but says he never considered resigning in the wake of the investigation.