The first round of rumors have sprung up and Butch Davis has issued the pseudo-denial/leave the door open/keep everyone focused on the current season statement. I would be lying if I said I was not concerned about Davis leaving but only because of the alma mater/family connections in Arkansas. I refuse to buy into the idea that Davis would leave because UNC can never be a legitimate football program. This is the general template/narrative used by various ABCers and media pundits. So if Arkansas offers, the connections to his alma mater are the greater concern and to some extent the money since the Razorbacks will plop a huge wad of cash down on the table and I am fairly certain UNC is not going to match. That all being said my gut instinct is Davis will stay. If this were 2010 or 2011 then I would expect him to leave but after one year I have my doubts simply because Davis obviously made a choice to take the UNC job when it was known that other high profile jobs could be in the offing if he was willing to wait. Perhaps he was not and because UNC was out there all alone it gave the Heels the inside track. Whatever the case, I would not really be surprised either way Davis goes but as it stands right now I think he will end up staying put.
Concerning the large picture, I am disturbed by the potential impact of this on players/recruits and the manner in which these rumors are being promoted from supposed mainstream sources. In terms of the current the team impact is a huge factor. This kind of news comes at a crucial juncture for the Heels who have an outside shot of being bowl eligible and going 5-3 in the ACC. It is kind of a raw deal that the players have this as a distraction though I think Davis has done a good job of trying to quell the matter for now. Hopefully the players can put their heads down and this business will be put on hold for the next five weeks.
As for the media coverage, it is unsettling that mainstream media outlets such as CBS Sportsline and The Sporting News saw fit to throw rumors and speculation out there in a manner which made it seem like that had inside information or were reporting facts. The fact that Dennis Dodd at CBS could not even get the contract details right tells me abdication of basic journalistic principles is routine. I also think it is interesting that for as much as independent bloggers get called on the carpet for passing off rumor and speculation it is the mainstream media outlets that do it in an egregious manner.
At this point, until someone gets fired, there is really nothing to see here and we should all just move along which is exactly what I plan to do barring some kind of actual development.