CHAPEL HILL - Holden Thorp said today that he has no plans to step down as the University of North Carolina’s chancellor and that the UNC system Board of Governors “has been great through this” NCAA investigation of UNC’s football program.
“Carolina is a great research university,” Thorp said. “We’re getting a great class next week coming in. We have great students coming back. We’ll have the faculty continue to make discoveries. Our research grants continue very, very strong, and fund raising continues very, very strong. This is a great, great public university.
“I feel inspired by the way our faculty has responded to the economic crisis, and I’m proud to be their leader.”
Thorp spoke to reporters today after giving the Board of Governors Committee on University Governance an update on the NCAA investigation. UNC is charged with nine major rules violations and must respond to the NCAA by Sept. 19.
University officials will take the full 90 days to respond to the NCAA, Thorp said. UNC is scheduled to appear in front of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions on Oct. 28. Today, Thorp spoke publicly in front of the Board of Governors committee for only about 90 seconds before the meeting went into closed session to discuss personnel matters.
On July 27, Thorp fired football coach Butch Davis, saying he could not stand for the damage UNC’s reputation was sustaining because of the investigation. Many fans have called for Thorp’s ouster, saying Davis wasn’t directly responsible for the violations and that nine days before the start of preseason training camp was bad timing for the decision.
But a Public Policy Polling survey of 317 UNC fans in North Carolina found that 36 percent agreed with Davis’ firing, while 27 percent disagreed.
Board of Governors chair Hannah Gage said she supports Thorp.
“He did the right thing,” Gage said. “He made the right decision, and I think it took a lot of courage. He’s the first one who said the timing wasn’t perfect, but it took a lot of courage.”