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By Art Chansky Art Chansky is a contributor to WCHL and the author of several Tar Heel books. You can find his new book, The Blue Blood Rivalry, in digital form on Amazon.com and iTunes.

Laughable Loophole

By Art Chansky Posted February 15, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Okay, all of those who think it’s okay for Butch Davis to finagle an “administrative” job in the National Football League and keep his full severance from UNC, raise your right hand.

Those of you who think Davis is trying to cheat his cash-strapped former employer out of more money on his way out of town, raise your left hand.

The fired football coach who seemingly wouldn’t move on apparently has taken a job with the Tampa Bay Bucs as a “Special Assistant” and advisor to new head coach Greg Schiano, the former Rutgers coach and Davis’ old D-coordinator at the University of Miami. But Davis, a coach for the last 40 years, will do no coaching. Huh?

Within 24 hours, this has become a national sham story with Yahoo, Bleacher Report, SB Nation and NBCSports.

As usual, Davis has a plausible explanation for taking the Tampa Bay position – that it’s the best opportunity to transition back into football and that he doesn’t want to disrupt the Bucs’ staff if he decides to leave.

Until that happens, it looks to me like Davis and his attorneys are gaming the severance system because his contract at Carolina carries the standard language that if he takes another coaching job his new salary will be deducted from the estimated $2.7 million UNC owes him for being fired without cause.

Who are they kidding with their laughable loophole that he won’t be a coach with the NFL team, more of an advisor and administrative assistant to Schiano? Wonder how Davis’ shorthand is these days. Is game-planning not coaching? How about “advising” on putting together a defense or selecting draft choices?

What a joke.

Davis won’t have any coaching duties with the Bucs like I won’t be rooting for the Panthers to kick their butts twice next season. At least when the Cleveland Browns paid him off (an estimated $12 million) after he was fired during his third season, Davis went to work for the NFL Network. He joined the media until his last check cleared and then went looking for another coaching job, landing at Carolina.

Do the math. It’s like Davis really needs the money, right? Besides the $20-plus million he banked from the Browns, plus the $5 million he earned at Miami, there is the $10 million more he made at UNC. Now he wants his full severance AND what he makes at Tampa Bay.

According to ESPN, Davis has already received $933,500 of his buyout with three $590,000 payments due the next three Januaries to fulfill a UNC contract that ran through 2015. By the time of the last payment, Davis will be 63, but with three seasons under his money belt as an NFL “special assistant.” He will then have made almost as much from not being a head coach as from being one.

I’ll bet you a grilled cheese sandwich at Sutton’s that after one, two or all three of those receivables are safely in his account, Davis will have talked his way back onto the sideline somewhere. They should all be ineligible payments from this point forward because surely his agent Jimmy Sexton has swung a salary of at least $1,770,000 ($590k X 3) as Schiano’s new right hand, front-office man.

What a mench, this guy who supposedly loved UNC so much that he’s put the scandal we are trying to get past right back in the national news after attendiing every home game last season in a booster’s suite, showing up at the dedication of the Charlie Loudermilk Center, aka the Blue Zone and, to everyone’s surprise, going to the dinner honoring outgoing Athletic Director Dick Baddour.

That’s when the eye-rolls, snickers and whispers reached an all-time high and upstaged the host of the evening, Holden Thorp, who so egregiously fired Davis that the Butcher has pretty much thrown his old boss under every available bus, plus trashed him in the strange You Tube video Davis released late last year, the one in which he gives it, but can’t take it, as he blocked the “comments” section.  

In maneuvering himself out of town with bulging pockets to another big payday in Florida, Davis has reinforced the theory that he was a hired gun in the first place brought on board by UNC Trustees who wanted big-time football so badly at Carolina.  It’s the same coach who decided that his initial $1.86 million deal wasn’t good enough and, through the slick Sexton, held the university up for a raise and contract extension after his inglorious 4-8 first season, which was a hooked Duke field goal away from 3-9.

He’s the same coach who is leaving Tar Heel football on NCAA probation, the school’s first brush with the collegiate cops in 50 years. Yes, I know, he was not mentioned in any of the nine major NCAA violations. He just made $3 million his last season here because, as Sgt. Schultz would say, “I know nussing.”  

If you ever see John Blake around town, ask him who knew what.

Whether UNC’s crack legal staff will fight this charade is unknown. It should at least see what the NCAA hands down for its final ruling. Perhaps then they can come up with a “cause” or three. Maybe they can hire a snoop dog to make sure Davis is only picking up Schiano’s dry cleaning for two million bucks a year. Does sitting in on staff meetings constitute coaching? If so, Davis shouldn’t get another red cent from Carolina. Let him sue UNC to get the remaining $1.77 million.

“I am excited to have his extensive football background and knowledge on board,” Schiano said. “He has had success on every level, and I know he will be a huge asset, not only to me, but to the entire Buccaneers organization.”

Enjoy Tampa, Coach Davis.  Welcome back to football.

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