Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Tarnished Heels -- Chapter Twelve

Chapter Twelve
Matt Kupec and Tami Hansbrough;
Thorp’s announced resignation

            Just after the Martin Investigation was announced in late August of 2012, yet another embarrassing episode would hit the university.  While it initially appeared unrelated with the ongoing athletic/academic scandal, a closer inspection showed that there were actually several intimate ties to athletics, as well as other areas of the school that were oddly interwoven with events not only of past importance, but also some that were yet to come.
            It was announced via a September 11, 2012, News and Observer article that UNC’s chief fundraiser, Matt Kupec, had resigned two days earlier.  Kupec had been the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement for the previous 16 years, and was also widely recognized as the school’s most accomplished raiser of money.  He was a graduate of UNC, and had been a star quarterback from 1976 through 1979.  His resignation came after a brief internal investigation strongly suggested he had taken personal trips at the university’s expense.  An odd twist, however, was that he was accompanied on those trips by Tami Hansbrough, another university fundraiser – who was also the mother of former UNC basketball star Tyler Hansbrough.
            According to Chancellor Holden Thorp, he had initially informed Kupec of findings that included trips and destinations where Tami Hansbrough’s other son, Ben, had been playing.  At the time Ben Hansbrough had been a star basketball player at Notre Dame.  According to Thorp, Kupec offered his resignation during that meeting.  “It was difficult because Matt has been such a great person for the university and has raised billions of dollars for us,” Thorp said, “but I had to share with him what we had been finding and it didn’t look good and that it’s likely that this sort of personally driven travel was unacceptable, and we are going to need to do a pretty thorough investigation of it.”
            At the time, Chancellor Thorp said that he did not see the fundraising controversy as being an athletics concern.  However, the presence of Tami Hansbrough in the equation made the situation ambiguous, especially considering the timeline of certain events.  During her son Tyler’s junior year at UNC, he won the Associated Press National Player of the Year award.  Instead of leaving school early and heading to the NBA like several of his UNC teammates had chosen, Hansbrough opted to return for his senior season.  Almost every underclassman who had won that Player of the Year award in the past had left early for the NBA.  In fact, Hansbrough was the first winner since 1991 who had opted to return to college.  That decision was announced in late April of 2008.  Later that same year, Tami was hired for her first job at UNC; that was a fundraising position in the university’s dental school foundation.  Her salary was approximately $80,000 per year.  Tyler Hansbrough would go on to lead the basketball team to a national championship during his senior year, while his mother was simultaneously employed by the school.  Chancellor Thorp confirmed that a dental foundation audit later found that during that championship run, Tami Hansbrough had been traveling to cities in which Tyler was playing basketball.  But according to the N&O, Thorp said those foundation-paid trips were legitimate because she was raising money for the university, and UNC fans traveling to those games would have been good candidates to make donations.
* * *
            By the time of Kupec’s resignation, Tami Hansbrough had moved on to a second and more prestigious position within the university.  She was a major gifts officer whose salary had grown to $95,000 annually, according to the News and Observer.  She had been placed on administrative leave as of the date of the September 11 article.  Kupec declined to be interviewed.  Chancellor Thorp said the university’s compliance office had reviewed information about the travel for compliance with NCAA regulations.  That audit led to the exit of Hansbrough’s boss at the foundation, Brad Bodager.  Attempts by the newspaper to reach Bodager had also been unsuccessful.
            As more details emerged, it became apparent that Matt Kupec and Tami Hansbrough had been in a relationship together.  In mid-2010, Kupec had sought to hire a fundraiser.  According to Thorp, he had heard that Tami (who was still working for the school’s dental foundation at the time) might be interested in Kupec’s new fundraiser position.  When Thorp learned that she would be reporting to Kupec, he told Kupec he could not hire her because it would violate the university’s nepotism policy since they were in a relationship.  According to the News and Observer article, the position disappeared and was never filled.  However, a short time later another fundraising position arose.  That one was to report to Winston Crisp, who was the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the time.  In an article that came out on September 12 in the N&O, Crisp said, “Matt came to me to propose that we work together on a major gift officer for parents.  That was a position that I had been interested in for quite some time but had not had the ability to fund.  But it was Matt who approached me with the initial conversation of having a major gift officer for parents of children.”  After what Chancellor Holden Thorp said was a proper job search with multiple candidates, Crisp hired Hansbrough for the job in 2010, giving her a new position within the university and one that would ultimately allow her to be closer to Kupec.  Crisp said that Hansbrough’s hiring was the result of a search committee’s unanimous recommendation.
* * *
            Matt Kupec separated from his wife in October 2009, almost a full year after Tami Hansbrough had been initially hired by the university’s dental foundation.  Orange County (NC) records indicate that Kupec had committed “marital misconduct.”  Hansbrough, meanwhile, was also divorced from her former husband – Tyler Hansbrough’s father.  However, in September of 2009 she was sued in Mississippi by a woman who alleged that Hansbrough had broken up her marriage, according to a later N&O article.  Those Mississippi court documents alleged that Hansbrough had seduced the woman’s husband, leading to his separation from the woman in early 2008 and then divorce.  It was during that same timeframe that Hansbrough’s son Ben was beginning the transfer process to Notre Dame, and her son Tyler was announcing his intent to forgo the NBA and return to UNC for his senior season.  Hansbrough would be hired at the university’s dental school foundation shortly thereafter.
* * *
            In a released statement after his resignation, Kupec said that, “I have been privileged to have worked with incredibly talented faculty, students, administrators and staff.  I have worked with gifted Chancellors.  But most of all, I have been fortunate to work with a score of passionate alumni and friends who love this University and who have paved the way through their generosity to make Carolina a true gem.  I will miss you all but in my heart I will always be a part of the Carolina family.” 
            Two of the specific chancellors Kupec had worked for were Holden Thorp, the man who was in charge at the time of Kupec’s resignation, and James Moeser, who served from 2000-2008.  As mentioned in a previous chapter, both of chose chancellors had served on a Board of Directors with former Governor Jim Martin (who had recently begun an investigation into the school’s academic transgressions), and both chancellors’ years blanketed the ongoing academic/athletic scandals.
            Overall, Kupec had raised $4 billion for the university.  He first joined the school as a fundraiser in 1992 and became the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement in 1995 – a position he would hold until his resignation.  His most recent annual salary had been $349,800, according to school records.  A look at the early stages of his employment with the university would turn up several curious connections during his time working at UNC.
* * *
            As stated above, Kupec had been a mid-level fundraiser for the school beginning in 1992.  In late 1994 he was the primary fundraiser involved in raising money for the university’s new Sonja Haynes Stone Black Cultural Center.  The funding of that Cultural Center was one of the primary topics covered at a meeting of the Faculty Council in November of 1994.  According to the meeting minutes, several “experts” on the Center were assembled in order to give informational presentations to the Faculty Council about the impending project.  One of the main presenters was the interim associate dean of the Office for Student Counseling.  This man was the chair of the Black Cultural Center Advisory Board, and also a lecturer in the Curriculum of Afro-American Studies.  His name was Harold Woodard – the same Harold Woodard who would later be head of the Academic Support Program for Student Athletes in 2012.  Woodard was the eventual boss of Robert Mercer, who was discussed in the previous chapter and who had been unceremoniously removed from his job as director of that Academic Support Program.  As mentioned in Chapter Eleven, Woodard stated in 2012 that he “was not aware” of what had been happening in the AFAM department during the many years of academic scandal.  Yet he had at one time served as a lecturer in that curriculum, and then back in 1994 he had been the chair of the Advisory Board for a new Black Cultural Center.  That same Cultural Center would eventually house the university’s Institute for African American Research – an organization which Julius Nyang’oro had previously served as the executive director.
            During that late 1994 meeting of the Faculty Council, Kupec spoke shortly after Harold Woodard.  Kupec responded to a question regarding the fundraising for the project.  Kupec said, “The project for the building is $7 million.  We have raised $1.6 (million) to be exact.  I’ve never taught and I’ve never coached, but on this project I can’t imagine the feeling you must get in the classroom when you start to see your students get it.  Or when Dean Smith’s out there working with those young men, the student athletes, and bingo! Donald Williams starts drilling the 3’s, and we win national championships.”  Kupec later touched on a number of volunteer leaders who had earlier that week met for a committee meeting regarding the fundraising efforts for the new Cultural Center.  One of those volunteers at the meeting, in fact, was head basketball coach Dean Smith.
            That major fundraising project for a new Black Cultural Center took place after UNC had won the national title in 1993, and also shortly after Julius Nyang’oro had ascended to become the chairman of the AFAM department.  In the months closely following that late 1994 meeting which detailed Kupec’s fundraising plans for the new Center, he would be promoted to become Vice Chancellor for University Advancement.  As stated earlier, it was estimated that Kupec was responsible for over $4 billion in fundraising during his tenure at UNC.  His intangible influence may have been even greater, though.  During a speech Holden Thorp had given shortly after being hired as chancellor in 2008, he noted that, “One night eight years ago, (then-Chancellor James Moeser) and Matt Kupec took me down to Fayetteville to speak at an alumni event.”  That would have been in 2000, shortly after Moeser had become chancellor and years before Thorp would rise to that eventual position.  Indeed, Kupec’s history at the university suggested that he was close to many of its intricate workings – athletics, academics, money, and administration.
* * *
            A day after the initial news story that opened this chapter which detailed Matt Kupec’s resignation from the university, Tami Hansbrough resigned her position as a fundraiser at the school.  A new article in the Raleigh News and Observer included further details about apparently impermissible trips the couple had taken while being co-workers at the school.  The paper confirmed that university officials were studying at least six trips related to collegiate basketball games, but those officials had not provided any further details at that time.  “We are in the preliminary stages of our review,” university lawyer Regina Stabile had said.  Furthermore, the N&O had confirmed that Kupec and Hansbrough traveled together at least 25 times from May 2010 until the time of their resignations.  Some of those trips appeared personal in nature, such as a two night stay on the North Carolina Outer Banks during the July Fourth weekend in 2010.  Other trips coincided with NBA games for Tyler Hansbrough.
According to the September 11, 2012, article, the News and Observer sought to obtain a copy of the earlier Dental Foundation audit and related expense records that revealed some of the misuse of money.  However, the foundation’s director at the time, Paul Gardner, said those documents were not public record because the foundation was a nonprofit and not a public agency.  That request was then forwarded to UNC’s legal department, but four weeks after the original inquiry the information had still not been provided to the newspaper.  The Dental Foundation’s insistence on closely guarding its records would again become important almost a year later.  That situation will be covered in a later chapter.
* * *
            In yet another unexpected turn of events in the multi-year saga of UNC’s athletic/academic scandals, Chancellor Holden Thorp announced on September 17, 2012, that he would be resigning effective at the end of the 2012-13 academic year.  Multiple news entities covered the story, and also covered some of the reactions from faculty members and also students at UNC.  More details would also emerge in the coming days in terms of possible reasons behind the timing of Thorp’s announcement.
            In a September 18, 2012, News and Observer article, Thorp said, “I will always do what is best for this university.  This wasn’t an easy decision personally.  But when I thought about the university and how important it’s been to me, to North Carolinians and to hundreds of thousands of alumni, my answer became clear.”  He said that no one had asked him to resign, but that he thought stepping aside would be best for the university and his family.  “As you know it’s been a tough couple of years,” he said in an interview.  “I’ve been through a lot of things I didn’t imagine I’d have to go through.”
            He was undoubtedly referring to what the newspaper called a constant stream of damaging revelations – improper benefits for football players, academic misconduct involving a tutor, and academic fraud in the African and Afro-American Studies department.  The latter had recently been punctuated by the uncovering of a former star player’s transcript, which strongly suggested the fraud stretched back more than a decade.  Also part of the equation was the less than week-old resignation of Matt Kupec along with the revelation of his personal relationship with the mother of former basketball All-American Tyler Hansbrough.
            According to the article, Thorp had been forced to explain that most recent university embarrassment to the UNC Board of Governors in a closed-door session the previous Friday, which would have been September 14.  Members of that governing board had previously publicly supported him.  UNC President Tom Ross said Thorp notified him about his resignation decision on the following Sunday afternoon.
            Other quotes and bits of information were contained in a coinciding article posted on September 18, 2012, by  Thorp stated in that article:  “It’s been stressful, so I’d be kidding you if I told you I hadn’t thought from time to time about whether it would be better for the University and better for me.  But this weekend was the first time I really thought about it and felt like it was the right time.”  He said his intent was to resign effective June 30, 2013.  Wade Hargrove, chairman of UNC’s Board of Trustees, said in a prepared statement that the board tried to talk Thorp out of his decision.  “I respect his unwavering commitment to always do what he thinks best serves the University,” Hargrove said.
            A article posted the mixed reactions of various students and faculty members from the school.  Some felt Thorp was taking the fall for problems he didn’t cause.  “A few people have just ruined it for the whole bunch,” freshman Savanna Fitzgerald said.  “I think it is ridiculous.  I think it is shocking, not on his part but the fact that he has been pushed to this, and I think a lot of it has been the negative media.”  Sophomore Jhenielle Reynolds said that Thorp had “done his best to show people that we are a university of academic integrity.”  Some students, though, felt a new leader would help the school move past the scandals.  “With a new person,” junior Alexander Jackson said, “we could get back to our reputation, which would be great.”  Mohsin Shad echoed those thoughts:  “It just makes sense to me because of all the scandals he was involved in.  It was probably a well-thought-out process.” 
            Jan Boxill, a philosophy professor and chairwoman of UNC’s Faculty Council, said she and many of her colleagues were in tears Monday morning when they learned of Thorp’s decision.  “I think he’s just been beaten down,” she said.  Dozens of faculty members reportedly emailed Boxill to see if there was anything they could do to persuade Thorp to continue as chancellor.  That persuasion would ultimately not end up being successful.  Coincidentally, however, Boxill’s name would arise again in the scandal the following year, and in a much less flattering context.  Those events will be covered in a later chapter.
* * *
            Thorp was asked in that earlier article if he had any regrets about how he handled any of the well-publicized issues that arose over the previous two years.  He said: “Obviously, if you look back on something, it’s easy to say that you wish you would have made some decisions sooner, or you had gotten some information sooner and done something with it sooner.  I think once you know how things turn out, it’s easy to say that.  But I feel good about what I did with all the different pieces of information that came up.  And I think we have reforms in place, and this is going to be a better, strong University because of it.”
            The end of Thorp’s tenure as chancellor was a far cry from the vision he held when first hired for the position.  During a Campus Celebration Speech from May 8, 2008, then-Chancellor-Elect Thorp had made numerous remarks about his past close association with the university, and his great future plans as leader of the school.  Thorp had graduated from UNC, as had both of his parents, his brother, his sister-in-law, and a cousin.  He mentioned that then-UNC President Erskine Bowles had recommended him to the Board of Governors.  When Bowles eventually offered the job to Thorp, Bowles essentially told him it was “the most important job offer of your life.” 
            Other details of note were that Thorp had initially returned to Chapel Hill in 1993 as a member of the classroom faculty.  He stated that the reason he went into administration was because of James Moeser, the chancellor who had preceded him – and who he also served with on a Board of Governors alongside former Governor Jim Martin.  “I simply can’t put into words what James Moeser has done for me,” Thorp said at the Campus Celebration.  “And I know that all of you here today join me in deepest appreciation and admiration for what he has done for Carolina these past eight years.”  Those years (and their significance) were mentioned earlier, spanning from 2000 to 2008. 
            Thorp went on to mention other “wonderful mentors” he’d had while at UNC, with one of the names being none other than Matt Kupec.  He recounted his immediately prior job as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences – which oversaw Julius Nyang’oro and the AFAM department.  Finally, he said that some of the duties of those newest administrative jobs he held would in part be to write speeches and correspondence instead of patents and scientific publications, as was the prior case when he was a faculty member of the school’s Chemistry department.  “And now,” Thorp said in that 2008 speech, “only a year into my new life of letters, I land a job where the last three words of most speeches have already been chosen for me: ‘Hark the sound.’” 
Those three words were a reference to the alma mater of UNC.  Thorp expanded upon the thought, asking “But what of this ‘sound’?  What will Carolina’s sound be in the years to come?”  After making references to the Bell Tower chimes and James Taylor, he asked, “Will it be the sweet sound of a basketball hitting the net?  God, I sure hope so,” voicing the well-known perception that basketball was the true king on the UNC campus. 
Thorp would continue with words that would end up containing a lot of irony in the future, as they would ultimately be succeeded by the numerous scandals that would punctuate his time as chancellor:  “But if we do our job well, when we make a sound, we will make the sound of knowledge: knowledge that comes from an unrelenting commitment to the highest levels of scholarship.  Knowledge produced when our students participate fully in research and benefit from our scholarship in the classroom.  Hark the sound of knowledge.”  Hopefully unbeknownst to Thorp at the time, the vast athletic/academic scandal that had been prevalent at the university for years would unfortunately make a mockery of that very knowledge-based ideal. 
* * *
            The day after Holden Thorp announced his eventual resignation as UNC’s chancellor, details emerged via a September 18, 2012, article in the News and Observer that showed Thorp had flown multiple times on private planes with Matt Kupec and Tami Hansbrough.  Records indicated that the trips took place after Thorp had stopped Kupec from directly hiring Hansbrough because the two were dating, which suggested Thorp should have been aware of the precarious situation. 
            Thorp indicated that he didn’t question their travel at the time, even though Kupec rarely flew with many of the other fundraisers at UNC who had higher-ranking jobs and positions than Hansbrough.  The flights Thorp took with the couple weren’t the only red flag he missed in a controversy that led to their resignations the previous week, the article stated.  Even though Thorp blocked Kupec from directly hiring Hansbrough, he said he was okay with the eventual arrangement: Hansbrough working as a fundraiser in the university’s division of student affairs, a position that was funded by Kupec’s office, and which was created via Kupec’s urging.
* * *
            According to the N&O, most of the flights taken by Kupec and Hansbrough together were on private planes operated by a university-affiliated entity called Medical Air Inc.  As of 2012 it was based at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, but prior to 2011 the planes were based in Chapel Hill.  The primary mission of Medical Air was to ferry university doctors to rural parts of North Carolina to treat residents who could not otherwise get high-quality medical care, and/or it was to train doctors in those areas.  The article said the planes were available on a limited basis for other state uses, but that medical flights took priority over others. 
            Kupec and Hansbrough may have taken trips to over 20 cities over two years, and a review of Medical Air flight records indicated that Kupec traveled with Hansbrough more than anyone else.  In one particular instance Kupec and Hansbrough were scheduled to return from Montana on a commercial flight, but Kupec’s assistant sent an email to Medical Air officials to request a private plane for part of the return trip home.  “Matt and Tami will be returning from a donor visit from Montana,” the assistant wrote.  “There are some issues going on in the office so need to be back on Sunday.”  Based on further documentation, a Medical Air plane went to Chicago and brought the two back to Chapel Hill.
            University officials had not provided detailed records or other information about any of the flights and billings at the time of the article.  They cited an ongoing internal audit that was trying to determine whether any flights were inappropriate.  Kupec continued to decline comment to the newspaper, now more than a week after his resignation.  Hansbrough could also still not be reached.
            The Medical Air flight manifests acquired by the News and Observer showed that Chancellor Holden Thorp was aboard planes with Kupec and Hansbrough in April, June and December of 2011, and then again in March of 2012.  All of those flights were either going to or coming from New York.  On two of the flights, Thorp’s wife, Patti, joined them as the only other passenger on board the plane.  Thorp said in an interview with the newspaper that at the time, he had no reason to question the travel by Kupec with Hansbrough.  “The trips we went on were university business,” Thorp had said.  However, he had acknowledged that questions did crop up, albeit two months after that last flight together – and those questions did not come from the chancellor himself.  In May, during a regular personnel review of Kupec, a review committee raised questions about Kupec’s relationship with Hansbrough and their travel, according to Thorp.  “Matt had his five-year review this spring,” Thorp told the newspaper, “and at the end of that, there were concerns raised about Matt’s travel and about whether it was appropriate and whether it was sort of personally driven or professionally driven.”  Thorp said he asked Kupec about it at the time of the May review and Kupec told him the travel was for university business.  Thorp said he did not take any other action at that time.
            The News and Observer said it had begun seeking travel information related to Hansbrough in mid-August of 2012.  As was often the case with the paper’s requests, however, those too had been denied (or at least delayed) by the university.  The newspaper eventually appealed directly to Thorp.  The chancellor said he had asked a university lawyer “in recent weeks” to gather information about Kupec’s travel.  It was after looking at that data he concluded that a deeper review was needed, which lead to his confrontation with Kupec and the latter’s resignation.  As mentioned earlier, approximately a week after Kupec’s resignation Thorp was questioned about the situation behind closed doors by the UNC System Board of Governors.  The content of those discussions had not been publicly disclosed as of the time of the news article.  Board of Governors Chairman Peter Hans said that while Thorp had done well on some measures, he “needs to be successful in clearing up some lingering issues on campus.”  Several days later Thorp had announced his resignation.
* * *
Approximately a week later, UNC issued a news release that said an internal audit of travel and other expenses for Kupec had found nearly $17,000 in questionable personal charges, though all of which had since been repaid.  The brief release mentioned some of the university policies regarding unallowable charges for a variety of endeavors, such as air travel, lodging, meals, and so forth.  The release concluded by saying that no additional audit work was necessary, indicating that it was now a closed matter for the university.
Kupec released a statement that apologized for his “lapse in judgment” that led to his personal monetary charges, and noted that “Tami Hansbrough was unaware that the charges had not been reimbursed to the University.”  Hansbrough herself released a statement which was far less humble and apologetic.  She said she “did nothing wrong in any way in the use of University or Foundation monies,” and that she “was forced by the administration of the University to resign.  This happened over my protest and before any substantive investigation was conducted into my responsibility related to these allegations.”  She went on to say her reputation had been wrongly and irreparably damaged, and that she hoped there would be “an official apology to me and my family by this (present) University administration so that my reputation and future can begin to be repaired and we all can move forward.”  Hansbrough was represented by lawyer Joseph B. Cheshire V, the same lawyer who had represented Jennifer Wiley, the tutor at the heart of the impermissible academic benefits provided to the football team two years earlier.  UNC spokeswoman Karen Moon said of Hansbrough’s request for an apology: “The University does not intend to respond.”
            Wade Smith, a Raleigh lawyer who represented Kupec, was referenced in an October 24, 2012, News and Observer article saying that he was not aware of any criminal investigation but acknowledged it was a possibility.  Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said university officials would trigger a review if the school notified authorities of the misuse of money, much like any other embezzlement or misappropriation case involving an employer.  Woodall said that as of the time of the article’s release, that had not happened.  Roughly one month later in a November 20, 2012, article, Woodall reiterated that university officials should request outside investigation into the nearly $17,000 in personal spending with university monies by Kupec – a request that had obviously still not been made.  That November article revealed even more questionable prior spending habits by Kupec and Hansbrough that did not appear university driven.  Woodall said that he had not ruled out a criminal prosecution.  However, Kupec’s lawyer, Wade Smith, ominously implied that bringing such charges against his client “would be unwise.”
* * *
            With the various scandals at UNC now well over two (documented) years old, the list of individuals whose jobs had been directly affected by it continued to grow.  John Blake resigned.  Butch Davis was fired.  Julius Nyang’oro was essentially forced to retire.  Dick Baddour retired earlier than originally planned.  Robert Mercer was reassigned to a new position.  Matt Kupec resigned.  Tami Hansbrough was forced to resign.  Holden Thorp resigned.
            There was one question dealing with this most recent episode that remained oddly unanswered – and even publicly unasked.  Matt Kupec had worked for the university for 20 years, the past 16 of which were in the influential position of vice chancellor.  He had traveled and worked closely with multiple past leaders of the university, rubbed elbows with administrators in the prestigious South Building, and above all had raised over $4 billion for the school.  When confronted with the possible misuse of university funds – which would eventually only amount to around $17,000 – he immediately resigned.  The unasked question was, “why?”  No criminal charges had been brought against him; the university allowed him to repay the money.  The amount was a small portion of his approximately $350,000 annual salary.  Even more contrasting was the minuscule percentage it was compared to the total amount he had raised for the school.  Yet he stepped away from a place where he had graduated, and a position he had held for 16 years – apparently without qualm or complaint. 
            One general stipulation of NCAA investigations is that they have no legal/criminal jurisdiction over entities (or people) not directly associated with member schools.  They can question student athletes about possible infractions, but only while they still attend school.  They can question coaches, but only while still employed.  And they can presumably question administrators and fundraisers and have a fair amount of leverage to coerce cooperation, but only while they still hold those jobs.  Once Matt Kupec (and two days later Tami Hansbrough) resigned from UNC, those two individuals effectively removed themselves from any possible future interviews with the NCAA.  Just as Blake, Davis, Nyang’oro, and Baddour had managed, in one form or another.
* * *
The essential (and unanswered) questions:
-- Was basketball star Tyler Hansbrough’s return to school (for his senior season) in any way connected to his mother being hired by the university, or vice versa?
-- Should Tami Hansbrough’s personal trips with Matt Kupec that used university funds be viewed as an impermissible benefit, since some of those trips occurred while her son was still attending the school and participating in athletics?
-- What role, if any, did Matt Kupec’s fundraising efforts for the Sonja Haynes Stone Black Cultural Center have in his almost immediately-following rise to the position of Vice Chancellor for University Advancement?
-- What influential role, if any, did “volunteer leader” Dean Smith play in the promotion and support of the new Cultural Center?
-- Had they not been stonewalled and withheld by the university, what would the Dental Foundation records have shown regarding the impermissible use of university funds by Kupec, Hansbrough, or possibly others?
-- Was the timing of Holden Thorp’s resignation announcement in large part dictated by facts he had been made aware of by the media – facts containing the information regarding trips he took with Kupec and Hansbrough on private planes?
-- Was there a veiled meaning when Wade Smith, Matt Kupec’s lawyer, said that it “would be unwise” to criminally charge his client?
-- Why did Matt Kupec resign without any apparent argument or attempt to keep his job?