North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham told reporters Thursday that he thought head coach Larry Fedora "poorly communicated" the points he was trying to make at Wednesday's ACC media day regarding football's link to CTE.
"You know, I think Larry was really concerned about the health and safety of students, and I don't think it came across all that well, obviously," Cunningham said, per ESPN News Services.
On Wednesday, Fedora said football is "under attack" because he believes football has been unfairly blamed for being connected to degenerative brain disease.
"I fear the game will be pushed so far to one extreme that you won't recognize the game 10 years from now. And I do believe that if it gets to that point, that our country goes down, too," he said, per CNN's Faith Karimi and Emily Smith.
"I can take the data and I can make it look one way, and you can take the data and make it look another way, and whoever is presenting it is the one that gets the say-so."
Fedora later tried to clarify his remarks, according to ABC 11's Mark Armstrong:
"I'm not sure that anything is proven that football, itself, causes (CTE). My understanding is repeated blows to the head cause it, so I'm assuming that every sport, football included, could be a problem with that if you've got any kind of contact. That doesn't diminish the fact that the game is still safer than it's ever been because we continue to tweak the game to try to make it safer for our players."
Fedora's remarks came almost a year to the day after the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study that showed CTE was posthumously identified in 110 of 111 brains of former NFL players.
The NFL previously acknowledged a link between football and CTE.