North Carolina Football Saved From Major Allegations Due to Lack of Paper Trail

North Carolina coach Butch Davis still has a job. In light of those allegations and the punishments recently meted out to Ohio State and USC, that is mildly surprising.

The headliner for the allegations is assistant coach John Blake who, in his spare time, is said to have funneled players to an agent who paid him for his trouble. Although that would be an egregious violation, it's hardly the only thing UNC has allegedly been less-than-forthright about under Davis.

There is a tutor paying for parking tickets, thousands of dollars of benefits paid to players and, of course, denying the existence of any wrongdoing whatsoever during an investigation.

Popular thinking goes that the ultimate crime is not the infraction; it's lying about the infraction. Recent NCAA cases seem to show, however, that even lying is OK as long as there's no paper trail to prove it.

For all accusations against OSU, there would have been difficulty bringing down Jim Tressel if not for his e-mails. Many of the violations, for instance, involved tattoo artists with police records who might be easily dismissed as unreliable. One aspect that would be even more serious than trading memoribilia for body ink — receiving special deals from car dealerships — was a non-issue because the dealerships kept records that seemingly showed there was no funny business.

But those pesky e-mails revealed Tressel knew about certain violations, which proved such violations existed and led to his resignation.

In North Carolina's case, however, there are no smoking gun e-mails. There are some rogue tweets, which helped secure the allegation that Davis failed to sufficiently monitor his program, but nothing to prove Davis' knowledge of the violations. In the absence of such proof, the NCAA has to assume Davis is honest when he says these things happened without his knowledge.

Smart? Possibly, but "lucky" seems more accurate.

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