Davis says he won't resign over agent allegations
CHAPEL HILL (WTVD) -- UNC Football Head Coach Butch Davis responded Thursday to a report that former assistant football coach John Blake engaged in multiple financial transactions with an NFL agent - telling ABC11 he won't resign over the scandal.
According to a report by Yahoo! Sports at Rivals.com, multiple payments were made from California-based agent Gary Wichard to Blake while he was on staff at UNC Chapel Hill.
Blake, who was in his fourth season working with Head Coach Butch Davis, stepped down on Sept. 5, because "my presence has become a distraction" to the university.
According to Yahoo! Sports sources, he received at least six wire transfers from Wichard's private bank. Blake also received a $45,000 loan from the same institution - The First National Bank of Long Island. He also had a Pro Tect Management - Wichard's agency - credit card in his name.
At his regular pre-game news conference Thursday afternoon, Head Coach Davis told ABC11 he was not aware of Blake's reputation before he was hired and was adamant that he will not step down.
Asked if he believes he has the support of the UNC administration, Davis said he did.
Earlier Thursday in an interview with 620AM The Buzz radio, Davis said the details revealed by the Yahoo! article were "a total revelation to me."
He said he didn't know if the story was true, but pointed out that people have private lives and he had no way of knowing what credit cards Blake might have.
Davis said he had been clear with all members of his staff about the perils of getting involved with agents.
Also Thursday, University of North Carolina Director of Athletics Dick Baddour responded to the Yahoo! Sports article.
In a statement sent out to the media, he said the school was aware of at least some of the allegations raised in the report early on in the investigation.
"We became aware of some of the information through the NCAA investigation when John Blake was interviewed on Aug. 31. But financial transactions in and of themselves don’t establish a violation, and at that time we did not have enough information to dismiss him with cause," he said. "Nevertheless, we weren’t comfortable with what we learned. That, combined with the distraction that Coach Blake was becoming to the football program, led us to the conclusion that it was not in our best interest for him to continue to be part of our program. He offered to resign, and we agreed to terms on Sept. 5." Blake's friendship with Wichard has drawn the NCAA's interest. It has spent much of the summer investigating whether Austin and receiver Greg Little received improper benefits from agents. That probe has since expanded to include possible academic misconduct.
Wichard has insisted that he and Blake are only friends despite the evidence presented in the article to the contrary.
In its article, Yahoo! said it also uncovered hotel documents from a trip UNC defensive lineman Marvin Austin made to California for a workout at a Wichard affiliated facility with Wichard's client Kentwan Balmer. Austin's hotel room was listed under his name and Pro Tect Management. The rewards number on the hotel bill belongs to Fadde Mikhail, a Wichard marketing agent who currently represents former Clemson star, CJ Spiller.
Meanwhile, Blake has already testified to the Secretary of State, who is investigating agent involvement with the football program. Blake's lawyer says he is cooperating.
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