More talk of budget cuts at UNC

CHAPEL HILL Eyewitness News asked UNC Football Coach Butch Davis, when it comes to easing UNC's budget woes are pay cuts in order?

"It's not a question, that's a political hot button and not really a question that any coach should be put in a position to have to answer," Davis said.

But university leaders are considering that question as they grapple with a 7 percent budget reduction at the request of the state.

It all adds up to potential layoffs. Before layoffs, university leaders say they'd prefer voluntary furloughs especially among its highest paid employees. But even that would require state lawmaker approval.

If that happens, exactly what employees would be affected is unclear.

Big name coaches like Davis are among the top earners, paid mostly from sporting event revenue and promotional deals. Still, Davis says he's mindful of his department's spending.

"We just had a significant meeting about ways, whether its hotels, meal plans, the number of players that travel, the way we do training camp, are their smart ways that we can be prudent about that money that we have," Davis said. "I will tell you that I feel unbelievably blessed and fortunate to be a coach and be in this situation."

The university's top brass supports temporary furloughs, if it would protect lower paid employees.

If lawmakers don't sign off on the idea, the chancellor has suggested UNC establish a system for its top earners to contribute to an employee assistance fund for laid off workers.

In a recent letter to the UNC campus, Chancellor Holden Thorp tried to ease fears, but also warned that challenging times lie ahead.

Last week, Eyewitness News also asked Coach Roy Williams if he'd take a pay cut in these tough economic times.

"I do believe I give a great deal of money whether it's Carolina Covenant or other programs here in our department, whether it's other programs," Williams said. "So I'm very proud of what we've done."

Like Coach Williams, Davis says he's always given back to the university and the community.

He says he's gladly made numerous donations long before it was considered the right thing to do during an economic crisis.

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