Timeline of UNC investigation

Brooke CainJuly 28, 2011 

As recently as Monday, former North Carolina football coach Butch Davis was defending the university's handling of the NCAA investigation of his team and denying he had considered resigning. A timeline of the investigation and the university administration's repeated statements of support for Davis before his announced firing Wednesday:

2010

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. "He's done everything we've asked him to do to get to the bottom of this, and we're pleased with him."

Sept. 17: Investigators from the state's Secretary of State's Office interview Austin about possible contacts with sports agents.

Sept. 22: Investigators from the state Secretary of State's 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 isn't 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 he's committed to the values we've 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. That's what he told [former chancellor] James Moeser and the trustees and Dickie [Baddour] when he was hired. I think there's been a lapse there, but that's truly what he believes, and so that's why I believe in him. And the people who think they know what to do about this haven't been in the room for the hours I've been talking to him."

Oct. 11: Austin is officially dismissed from the UNC football program.

Oct. 28: The N&O, The Charlotte Observer and other media organizations sue UNC 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. He's our football coach."

Nov. 18: Thorp tells the UNC Board of Trustees that Davis and Baddour will both return to their jobs for the next year.

Thorp: "They're going to be here next year, and we're 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 Wiley's 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 school's football program but say they also feel the NFL should take a tougher stance with sports agents who tempt college athletes. They also praise Thorp and Baddour in their handling of the situation.

2011

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.

June 15: The state Court of Appeals denies UNC's 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 1: Former UNC football player Michael McAdoo files suit against the NCAA and UNC, accusing the NCAA of "gross negligence" in ruling McAdoo ineligible on what the suit argues was inaccurate information concerning university Honor Court charges leveled against him. Within a week, a McAdoo term paper made public in court filings was discovered to contain more serious transgressions than the ones flagged by the Honor Court: numerous passages plagiarized from other sources.

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 it has been "cooperative" and "diligent" in NCAA investigations. Davis also says he "fully and completely" takes responsibility for the school's NCAA troubles, but says he never considered resigning in the wake of the investigation.

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