BADDOUR & DAVIS
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"So why am I here today? I'm here because I really want to be fair to Coach Butch Davis and to this football program because we all know what's on your minds with regard to this review. I feel strongly that I should be the spokesperson for this. I'd like for him to be able to concentrate on what's happening on the football field. Hopefully I can shed some light on what's going on, although it won't be a whole lot more than what I've already talked about.
"First of all, I would hope you would understand that we're working here with several conflicting interests. We've got the public interest, which in many ways you represent, and the public's right to know or interest in knowing, but we've also got an ongoing process. I strongly believe that it's been our practice, our mode to share as much information with you as we possibly can and our goal is at the end of this process, at the end of this review, to do exactly that. We've got an ongoing review, which means that in the middle and in the beginning and in the end, directions can change. And until we know exactly where we're heading and what the resolutions are, it seems to us improper to get out in front of that.
"Another conflicting interest is that we've got the rights of individuals involved in this review and we have some obligation to protect those individual rights. We've got institutional integrity issues and I'll comment a little more on that in just a minute. And we've got the NCAA rules and the process that they and we are absolutely committed to. Now, in this process, I decided early on that I would be guided by two principles. And they affect every decision that we make along the way. The first one is at the end of the day, when this report is written, what will it say about the integrity of the University of North Carolina and the integrity of UNC football? That's paramount to me. The second guiding principle for me is that I and my staff and the university and the football staff will do everything in our power to see that individuals are treated fairly.
"So if I'm operating with those principles, I feel like and the university feels like we're on sound footing. So the NCAA comes in and they lay out for us all of the issues that they're interested in, and right off the bat, you see that it's very complicated, it's very detailed, it's going to take a lot of time and a lot of work to sort it out. We have an excellent team that's working on this process and just about every minute of every day is involved with this process. The NCAA says to us that they want to conduct this review together. They want us to assist in the process. They want us to participate and that they expect our full cooperation.
"And I say to them, ‘I'm committed to those principles as well, but you tell me what does it mean to you when you say you expect our full cooperation because I want to understand what the rules are completely.' And they respond, ‘We expect you to make your staff and your students available to us. We expect you to help us get other people who may not be employees or directly involved with the University of North Carolina. We expect you to help us making them accessible to this process. We expect you to schedule meetings. We expect you to assist us in gathering all kinds of records, no matter what they may be. We expect you to help us move this along and we impress upon you' – and they say this strongly – ‘we do not want you to talk with anyone about this process in any detail. We expect you to tell all of your employees and all of your student-athletes to tell the truth, to be forthright, to tell all of the truth and to be forthcoming.'
"When I sat across the table from them and they explained to me what cooperation means and they add, ‘Cooperation means protecting the integrity of the review, protecting the integrity of the investigation,' and I say again, ‘What does that mean to you?' And they say, ‘That means not talking publicly or otherwise about this.' And I press them on that issue. ‘We have a lot of constituents who will want to know about this. We have faculty, we have support groups, we have university administrators who are not necessarily connected but have an interest.' And they respond in the same way. ‘We have a process and this is our expectation.'
"… So if they judge failure to cooperate means that we've talked about it in a public way, then we raise the potential for the University of North Carolina to be cited for being uncooperative or even worse, for unethical conduct. I would say to you that is a standard that we could not live with, that that would be over the top… I believe that we have been as responsive as we can possibly be…
"We obviously take this very seriously. I do not know what the timetable will be. I know that they are working as hard as they can to bring it to resolution. I know that we are working as hard as we can to bring it to resolution and when that occurs, we will come forward and tell you everything that we are allowed to tell you."
"Obviously we are in the thick of our fall training camp. In the first two or three days of camp, everyone is excited for training camp - the season is just a few weeks away. Then comes the time where it is 97 degrees and it's the seventh or eighth day of practice. Some teams decide whether they are going to win or lose in how they use those practice opportunities presented to them.
"I think the character of your football team gets put to the test in the middle of August. Your leaders, seniors or starters have to become the encouragers. They have to push guys past the limit of just having to survive practice and actually relish the opportunity to get better.
"For the first time since I have been here we actually have legitimate position battles. Guys are battling not only to become starters, but for significant playing time. I have been impressed with the overall conditioning of this football team. The way you are allowed the practice, the speed and overall efficiency is dependent upon the conditioning of your players.
"I am also impressed with our freshmen class. I think it is a talented class and some kids with an awful lot of passion to be good. They are coachable, hungry to learn and really listen in meetings. All football players are going to make mistakes, but their willingness to learn is encouraging.
"Our number one priority is to solidify our offensive line. It has been a little bit of an Achilles heel for this football team over the last two years. I think we have a good nucleus of guys like Alan Pelc, Mike Ingersoll, Jonathan Cooper and Cam Holland. Those guys who played last year gained some valuable experience and have taken their game to the next level. "
On possibly preparing for not having certain players in the season opener:
"There will come a point in time when we'll have to turn our attention to Week 1 of this season and whether or not the review is finished or it's not finished at that particular time, then we're going to have to make a decision as to how we'll go ahead and proceed in the two weeks or 10 days leading up to that first football game. But we're not at that point yet."
What was the primary reason that you hired John Blake?
"What was the primary reason? He was a very good teacher, a good defensive line coach."
Was there any question in your mind about his relationship with Gary Wichard? Any concern?
"Any question in my mind? No. A lot of that falls into what Mr. Baddour just said. I'm not talking about any of the things that have anything to do with this review."
Just to be clear, you're saying that the assistant coach is involved in the review?
"Just to be clear, I said that we're not going to talk about the review."
I didn't ask you about the review, I asked you about a coach.
"I know you did and I told you that anything that has anything to do with any kind of investigation or any kind of review, we're not going to talk about it. I'd be happy to talk all you want about football."