More Hand Wringing From Over the Davis Contract

First we had Caulton Tudor at the N&O and Dane Huffman at WRAL expressing their righteous indignation for the decision to raise Butch Davis’ salary to curb of any enthusiastic offers from other schools. Now, a full week later, N&O staff writer Jim Jenkins decides to offer his asinine thoughts on the matter. Based on his viewpoint and the ones reflect by others in the media allow me to make the follow suggestion.

Since what UNC has done is so alarming and undoubtedly spells the end of Western academia as we know it, I would like the N&O to be courageous in the conviction of two of it’s writers and cease all coverage of UNC sports effective immediately. If UNC’s descent into big time athletics is so horrid then please feel free to shut down your coverage of the teams as a protest and shift those resources to covering the academic side in Chapel Hill. I am quite certain J.P. Giglio would love to spend his evenings at poetry readings or art shows versus taking in the latest UNC-Duke affair. And I am anxious to read Caulton Tudor dissemble at length on who UNC will hire to head the English department or hear him argue that the dean of the medical school has simply not lived up to expectations and should be fired. And once you have made this transition feel free to report on how much circulation and advertising money the newspaper loses because you have decided to follow the stalwart principles set forth by your writers and boycott the evil of big business college sports.

I find it utterly amusing that the N&O would complain about UNC spending money to improve the football program when the newspaper itself will directly benefit from the success of that program. I also find it laughable that college educated writers employed at major newspapers are so blindingly unaware of the basic principles of economics. If Butch Davis manages to elevate UNC to be a top tier football team then the raise they gave him will be more than paid for over the course of time. Aside from that the university not only benefits from the increased influx of revenue but also from increased exposure which aids the school in terms of admissions. And if the prominence of the athletic teams was not important then UNC would not also spend money to run commercials for the school during nationally televised games. William Friday and the like can whine all they want about $291,000 being enough to hire two more professors, the last I checked professors, aside from those in research that bring grants in, do not generate millions of dollars in revenue for the university. They also do not create exposure for the university to millions of people who watch college athletics week in and week out. If they did then my above tongue and cheek suggestion to the N&O would be reality.

This is soapbox hand wringing done for the express purpose of creating a controversial viewpoint in an effort to sell papers. As I said previously, UNC could do nothing right here. If they give Davis a raise to keep him, they are wrong. If they do nothing and he leaves, they would be criticized for not doing being serious about football. College athletics has become huge business but I do not see any effort on the part universities or the media outlets to step away from the money it brings in. Short of that, any complaints coming from anyone associated with either party is astoundingly hollow.

12 Responses to More Hand Wringing From Over the Davis Contract

  1. Wayne says:

    I was under the impression that very little, if any of Coach Davis’s and Coach Williams’s salaries were actually paid by the University. I thought virtually all of their salaries came from shoe contracts, radio/t.v. contracts and the Ram’s Club. If I’m wrong, let me know. If I’m right, I’m pretty sure Nike isn’t going to offer up any big bucks to a professor, dean, or whatever and the Ram’s Club isn’t likely to either. And, of course, I’m sure N.C. State is paying O’Brien roughly $75,000 per year? OK, I’m off my soapbox.

  2. Tar Heel Fan says:

    That is actually correct and something I forgot about. According to the original contract the salary from UNC is $286,000 annually because it is a state of NC job. The rest of it comes from other sources. Here is how Roy’s contract was setup as of 2 years ago according to the N&O via StateFans Nation.

    $260,000 University pay
    $347,000 Learfield/Tar Heel Sports Marketing
    $500,000 NIKE
    $25,000 expense account
    $780,000 Rams Club (not guaranteed)
    $1,912,300 per year

    I imagine Davis’ contract is the same which means complaining about the salary is a little silly since the money used to pay for most of the salary comes from sources who make a choice to invest their money in a coach of a major college team. Another interesting point is the article these figures came from included a quote from William Friday complaining about the salaries then as he does now.

  3. David W says:

    I am fine with these soap box writers viocing there views about Butch Davis and his contract but I want to see them as indignent over the athletic costs that NC State incurrs. I seem to remember that NCSU was willing to open up the piggy bank to pay for Rick Barnes and John Calipari. Tom Obrien and Sidney Lowe are not cheep hires.

  4. Big Daddy Doc says:

    Does anyone else see the irony in the media outlets in NC decrying the state of football at Duke, then complaining about the investment made at UNC?

    So much has been made of Duke’s lack of institutional commitment to football, which has made Duke football the laughingstock of Division I-A. I guess that’s the blueprint UNC is supposed to follow, when you don’t put money into facilities and personnel?

    Like THF said, I am amazed that so many supposedly smart people other than Bill Friday (who will always complain about stuff like this) don’t get it. BTW, my house needs a new roof, new siding, and the trim is rotting, and yet Wake County upped its tax value more than $40,000. I don’t get it – if my house isn’t up to snuff, then why is it suddenly worth 40K more? Oh, that’s right – it’s based on the market value.

    If this is about academics, then why doesn’t the N&O compare UNC’s situation to the other high-falootin’ public schools they are always being compared to for academics? Since they won’t, I will:

    Michigan – Lloyd Carr, $1.6 million
    Virginia – Al Groh, $1.8 million
    Cal-Berkeley – Jeff Tedford, $1.8 million
    NCSU – Tom O’Brien, $1.5 million

    I guess all those schools are compromising their academic integrities as well.

  5. 52BigGameJames says:

    all very valid points, but I would like to hear what, if anything any of you think Coach Davis could have/should have done to make this process a little less uncomfortable for the University.

  6. Tar Heel Fan says:


    I am not sure there was anything that could have been done different short of him swearing in his mother’s grave he was not interested in another job and stating he was fine with the contract as is. I think the chief complaint from people like Tudor and Huffman had to do with the idea that Davis played UNC for more money by allowing the Arkansas rumors to fester. And for all I know he privately made demands but UNC maintains the initiated the talks for a raise and all Davis ever said in public had to do with the Kenan renovations. It is probably true UNC initiated the talks but one could argue Davis enticed the talks by not squashing the rumors. Of course I have maintained all along that this situation is no different than any one of us getting a raise because another company wants to hire us away. Why Davis and UNC get ostracized for exercising a common business practice of adjusting an employee’s salary to address market value especially in the face of the real possibility another school might hire him away is a mystery. I guess the whole loyalty factor comes into play and that is real negative with Davis most people jump on.

  7. 52BigGameJames says:

    as usual, a very good synopsis from you. I guess I’m still smarting from the fact that I dismissed the rumors from the ABC fans as sour grapes and pot-stirring sports-talkers. Beginning to look like they were right after all. Didn’t read Huffman, but I like Tudor, and feel he was spot-on re: Davis playing them for mo money. Davis could have achieved his objective (IMO) without the public flogging, allowing them to flap in the wind. You have referenced Roy’s situation as a similar scenario, but Roy didn’t jerk KU around (or at least I didn’t perceive that, but I’m sure some Jayhawk fans would disagree). Nothing wrong with seeking adequate market value for your services, but the way it was done smacks of “leaving yourself a future out”. I have little doubt as to Davis’ ability to get this program turned around, but that mercenary profile is so foreign to UNC’s mo, as to be repulsive to me. Throw in a little Jimmah Swaggert, and maybe Arkansas is a better fit after all. Oh, well, I guess it’s better to know your trophy wife is on the prowl, so you can be cultivating relationships too.

  8. Tar Heel Fan says:

    My complaint about Tudor and Huffman was they were hung up on the record and hysterical that UNC would choose to be preemptive with any attempts to lure Davis away by paying him more as an acknowledgment of his value changing.

  9. 52BigGameJames says:

    totally 100% (that’s redundancy btw) agree with you on that-perhaps it’s best to view Davis’ transparency as a gift of sorts…makes me feel better anyway, lol… have a great day!


  10. Wayne says:

    Big Game James — at least you didn’t say totally 110% ;^)

  11. Big Apple Heel says:

    In the interest of the full picture, the N&O could have pointed out that Carolina just finished a 7-year $2.2 billion fundraising drive, creating 1,000 new endowed professorships among other things. So yes, academics should always and emphatically be the first concern of the University, and they appear to be thriving.
    But that wouldn’t sell papers, I guess.

    And to add to your great points re: the economics of the situation- whether some professors like it or not, successful sports programs correlate with increased quality of student applicants. Duke can thank basketball for the fact that anyone outside a 100-mile radius of Durham (read: New Jersey) knows about it or wants to go there.

    Speaking of…If the N&O really wants to toe the line on this academic-athletic imbalance, why not use a real case study and look at the masterful way Coach K let Duke’s new president know who was the real BMOC with his Lakers flirtation. His statements during the lacrosse case were revealing as well. K is indisputably the most powerful person at Duke, and it’s not even close.

  12. Wayne says:

    This (clipped & pasted from: ) [UNC-CH raises $2.38 billion – Carolina First supports 773 scholars and 208 endowed professorships] puts the Coach Davis salary/pay raise issues in perspective.

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