While trying to avoid an ethical conundrum Thursday, UNC chancellor Holden Thorp actually created one by inadvertently committing a secondary NCAA violation.
Thorp was irked that former coach Butch Davis had offered a scholarship to his son, Drew, in the midst of an all-consuming NCAA investigation without first discussing it with either Thorp or athletic director Dick Baddour. According to NCAA rules, however, no university official can comment on the status of a potential recruit, even if he is the former coach's son — and even if the official is trying to distance the school from the recruit.
"Yesterday I honestly answered a specific question asked by a reporter about a scholarship offer to a prospective student-athlete," Thorp said in a statement released by the school. "I am advised that acknowledging the scholarship offer was an NCAA Level II Secondary violation, which I regret. In accordance with NCAA policy the University has voluntarily reported this to the ACC."
It's a minor violation, which is ultimately just another footnote on the litany of major violations by North Carolina that the NCAA has already documented. And honestly, how many chancellors are familiar with the NCAA rules concerning football recruits? How often is a chancellor even asked about a recruit?
Chalk this one up to bad luck, lack of communication within the athletic department and a clever reporter who got a good story that probably wouldn't have been written otherwise.