I suppose I shouldn’t be so hard on people in leadership positions. They’re probably too busy to think of the consequences of decisions they make.

Like when Butch Davis, leader of the football program at UNC while it racked up nine or so charges of violating NCAA rules, offered his son a scholarship to play football for UNC without mentioning his decision to athletics director Dick Baddour or Chancellor Holden Thorp. Putting aside the fact that what teenager would want to play football in a program where his dad was the head coach (some teenagers make their college acceptance decisions based on which school is farthest from home), Davis should have mentioned to his bosses that he was offering his son, Drew, a football scholarship.

Drew Davis plays football in high school but has not yet received any football scholarship offers from other schools. rates Drew as a two-star prospect, and one of the four quarterbacks Davis signed for UNC was a two-star prospect. The other three had three or four stars. Had Drew come from any other family, Davis might still have signed him. But to keep everything on the up-and-up during the NCAA investigation, keep your boss in the loop.

And why would Drew need a scholarship to begin with? With his dad as the head coach, Drew would automatically have a place as a walk-on – there should be some reward for growing up with a football coach as your dad. But Butch Davis makes $2.2 million a year; in-state tuition, fees, and room and board at UNC add up to $16,879 this year. Davis risking his job by surreptitiously offering his son a scholarship is like shoplifting Tic-Tacs from Walgreens when you have a roll of $20 bills in your pocket.

Maybe Davis wanted out. He gets $2.7 million for being fired, and he doesn’t have to set his alarm clock anymore nor answer any more hard questions from the press or the NCAA.

But watching the football program unravel makes me think $2.2 million doesn’t buy much leadership these days.
– Nancy Oates

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  1. Chris Jones

     /  August 8, 2011

    Actually, Nancy, Drew was an invited walk-on, so that, while a place on the team would be reserved for him (should he choose to accept it), he would not be utilizing a scholarship. This is public knowledge, and not just to football fans — the News & Observer reported it last week.

    It was also reported that the athletic department has no policies that prohibit a coach from recruiting his/her child(ren) to play at the university. I can think of 2 other instances off the top of my head where a head coach’s child participated (one time, at least, on scholarship) on his/her parent’s team. That’s for head coaches — I can’t begin to fathom the number of assistant coaches’ children that may have been recruited to play for mom or dad.

    Additionally, Mr. Thorp is on record as having known about this “for several months.” While the head coaches of our outstanding athletic programs, to my knowledge, are not required to notify the chancellor every time they extend a scholarship or walk-on offer, Mr. Thorp certainly could have addressed this privately with coach Davis “several months” ago, instead of in the insulting and cowardly manner in which he did last week.

    I think a much greater question on leadership would be why Mr. Thorp decided it was appropriate to drag a 17 year old kid out as a reason for terminating his head coach. I think it would be appropriate to question the leadership of one who commits an NCAA violation (publicly commenting on a prospective student-athlete’s recruiting status), rather than just the simple “no comment” that the question deserved.

    Nancy, you don’t me, and I typically enjoy this site (while a frequent reader, I almost never post). However, this article is out of line, and factually inaccurate. No matter what one feels about Coach Davis (should he have been fired, or shouldn’t he) or Mr. Thorp (did he mismanage this event, or flat out lie to the public about his support), the bottom line is that Thorp went way out of bounds in publicly commenting on Coach Davis’s son, and using it as an argument to justify termination.

  2. Nancy Oates

     /  August 8, 2011

    I agree Thorp went out of bounds mentioning Drew. I maintain that Davis should have talked it over with Thorp before adding his son’s name to the scholarship list. I think Thorp probably would have talked Davis out of it. It might not be fair that Drew would then miss out on the honor of being offered a scholarship, but sometimes that’s the situation life hands you, and you have to go on from there. Isn’t that what football is all about? You make a plan, you execute your plan, then you see where you are at the end of the play and make a new plan from there.

  3. Chris Jones

     /  August 8, 2011

    But Nancy, you’re still missing one of the most important things:

    According to what has been released to the press, Coach Davis did not offer a scholarship to his son. He is (was?) an invited walk-on. It is a core, critical difference that dispels your argument.

  4. Jon DeHart

     /  August 9, 2011

    According to insidecarolina, he was offered a scholly. Search their archives for Drew Davis, Article was on May 6th .

  5. John Kramer

     /  August 9, 2011

    Great article, thanks for posting it!