UNC football coach Butch Davis releases phone records to prove innocence
Media outlets had been hounding the UNC to gain access to Butch Davis’ phone records and even filed a lawsuit to gather further information regarding NCAA probe into school’s football program. The court had ruled for Butch Davis to make his phone records (excluding personal calls) public according to state law.
Although Butch Davis stated he wanted to guard the privacy rights of his personal contacts, still his attorney, Jonathan D. Sasser, revealed that partial records for those calls had been released by his client to ensure transparency of the process. The phone records spanning from March 2009 to November 2010 comprise of 136 pages of court evidence.
Following his firing from UNC in July 2011, Butch Davis had contemplated releasing his business phone records due to the harm brought to the university’s name following the NCAA’s probe.
Butch Davis wasn’t quoted in the NCAA’s probe for violations of university policies, and phone records too depict the same picture after UNC confirmed that external bodies found "nothing of concern” after assessing the evidence.
"As the NCAA found, and UNC has consistently maintained, Coach Davis did nothing wrong," stated Jonathan D. Sasser. "These phone records should, once and for all, confirm that fact."
However, the NCAA’s initial probe into UNC’s football program drew further implications for the university following suggestions academic misconduct against student-athletes receiving inappropriate help on papers to minor revisions involving a tutor Jennifer Wiley, who also taught Butch Davis’ son.
The academic misconduct resulted in Chancellor Holden Thorp’s resignation this week, with the measures not taken in-force until the end of the school year. The allegations against him include academic fraud as well as suspect classes accommodating high number of athlete enrollments.
UNC players were also cited for receiving unfair benefits in terms of gifts, jewelry and travel facilities to D.C., Las Vegas, Miami and California. Fourteen players sat out at least one game in the Tar Heel’s 2010 season, while seven others missed games throughout the season due to violations of the schools or team policies.
The NCAA probe also focused on former UNC assistant coach John Blake's association to California-based NFL agent Gary Wichard, which also occurred during Butch Davis’ term as head coach at the university. The violations could land the school a $2.7 million loss in contractual obligations by 2015 However, when Holden Thorp fired the Butch Davis, he thought the coach was unaware of the violations.
Jonathan D. Sasser claimed that Butch Davis’ phone records indicate no calls were made to Gary Wichard or Holden Thorp. However, the phone records show five calls were made to Jennifer Wiley, with the last dating back to August 2010, around the time she was asked by school officials to cooperate in the investigation.
Jennifer Wiley made the call to enquire of Butch Davis’ if she should bring along her father, according to Jonathan D. Sasser, but the coach urged her to contact a school official for further information. Later, Jennifer Wiley declined to meet with the NCAA or UNC officials, and renounce any association to the case.
Jennifer Wiley’s attorney confirmed that she made the decision of her own accord.