Former UNC football coach Butch Davis, in a YouTube video, is downplaying the thousands of dollars in parking tickets accumulated by some of his players and says he didn't know about alleged wrongdoing by his chief assistant coach or his family's own tutor that prompted UNC to forfeit scholarships and impose other sanctions as part of an NCAA investigation.
The video is approaching 18,000 views.
Reaction to the former coach's first substantial comments about the problems in his program has been mixed. Comments on his YouTube channel have run the gamut, from "we love you" to he is either "a liar or he's an idiot." (The video itself does not allow comments, but the channel does.)
We'll leave all that to others.
We did take note of one subject Davis responded to at length: The parking tickets.
Davis said "perspective" was important, noting that the university issues roughly 46,000 tickets a year.
He said in the video that there had been a "courtesy" of not issuing parking tickets to players attending practice. (A request by The N&O for further information about this practice is pending with UNC officials.)
At some point, he said, the "courtesy" ended.
"So over the course of three-and-a-half years, 11 players accumulated 395 parking tickets," Davis said in the video. Players "put their account in order" when they were notified of their outstanding balances.
Paying up on outstanding fines, of course, came after the N&O sought information about the parking tickets.
UNC fought releasing any information about parking tickets, prompting a lawsuit by the N&O and other media to access the records.
Former player Deunta Williams offered a different perspective about the tickets when this first was news. “You have to understand, for some players, they thought they’re going to the NFL and they didn’t care about the parking tickets,” Williams said then.
There's another piece of important context about this that Davis did not mention in his video.
The initial request by The N&O was made at the beginning of the NCAA investigation -- and it was limited to just 11 players. Later, the N&O sought information about a 12th player.
Of those 12 players for which information was requested, nine of them had received tickets.
The fines totaled more than $13,000. Some of those were paid off by the tutor, who has refused to be interviewed by investigators, the university and the media about that or other allegations of wrongdoing.
-- J. Andrew Curliss