The timing on Frazier

Aug. 23, 2013 @ 04:10 PM

A $205 parking ticket may have played a role in N.C. Central University’s former head football coach Henry Frazier III’s dismissal from the job, which paid $225,000 annually. And while his communication with his ex-wife over the parking ticket apparently spurred his latest arrest, ultimately, Frazier’s assault on her a year ago is perhaps the overshadowing factor.

We say “may” and “perhaps” because there are a lot of questions still unanswered about Frazier’s dismissal from NCCU on Thursday.

Domestic violence is unacceptable. It’s an abhorrent act to commit. And violation of domestic violence protective orders is a crime that needs to be taken seriously. We’ve read far too often of spouses who were injured or killed after a batterer violated an order.

But it’s somewhat puzzling why N.C. Central reached the decision it did when it did.

Here’s what we know: Frazier pleaded guilty in 2012 to assaulting his then-wife. N.C. Central suspended him with pay after his arrest and reinstated him a few weeks before the 2012 season kicked off. Frazier was arrested Monday on charges of violating a domestic violence protective order. He was fired Thursday as the Eagles’ head football coach.

That leaves some pretty sizable gaps in understanding what led events to play out this way.

The protective order violation, according to his attorney, stemmed from an issue over a parking ticket Frazier’s ex-wife or her daughter had gotten. Frazier agreed to pay the ticket, but sent his ex-wife a note via their son – which is, according to the attorney, how they had been communicating about finances – saying he would cover the cost of the parking fine, but deduct it from the alimony payment.

On its surface, it seems a lesser offense than the 2012 incident.

It’s perplexing that N.C. Central took harsher action this time than in 2012, particularly before Frazier’s latest arrest has an outcome in the court system. Perhaps, though, there are other pieces of baggage that attached themselves to Frazier in the intervening year that raised concerns for NCCU, but just were not public. Or perhaps the second arrest was just more than the university wanted to be entangled with.

We should note that the university has new leadership, with Debra Saunders-White assuming the chancellorship this summer, although it’s unclear how much her arrival affected the harsher penalty for Frazier this go-round.

No doubt as the story unfolds, more details will emerge about how the university reached the decision to terminate the relationship with him. The appearance for now, though, is that the university may have overcompensated now to make up for undercompensating in 2012. The time to end the relationship with Frazier – at least with the details we have now – would have been last summer.