Ben Hansbrough's mother Tami, a fundraiser for UNC, has resigned her job after charging the university for trips with her boyfriend, UNC Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Matt Kupec, to see Ben play for Notre Dame. Kupec has also resigned his post in the wake of the details being made public.
It's a classic love story involving the quarterback and the beauty queen. Well, not exactly, especially when it involves two people who have high-profile connections to UNC athletics.
While Holden Thorp was standing at a podium assisting in the announcement that Notre Dame would join the ACC, UNC was being rocked by yet another round of allegations of misconduct. This time the parties involved were Matt Kupec, a former UNC quarterback and vice-chancellor at Carolina, and UNC fundraiser Tami Hansbrough, a former Miss Missouri. Yes, of that Hansbrough family, mother of former Tar Heel basketball great Tyler Hansbrough.
Kupec had served as UNC's Vice Chancellor for University Development, or in other words, he was Carolina's chief fundraiser. Hansbrough came to Carolina in 2009 as a fundraiser for the dental school foundation but was later appointed to a fundraising position in the student affairs division. Hansbrough, who was divorced, began a relationship with Kupec, who eventually separated and later filed for divorce from his wife.
Questions about the relationship between Kupec and Hansbrough began to surface, and other questions about travel supposedly taken for university business and an internal investigation revealed that Kupec and Hansbrough charged trips to the university that were not for official business, and many of those trips involved travel to see Ben Hansbrough, Tyler's younger brother, who played for Notre Dame, as well as a couple to see Tyler play as a member of the Indiana Pacers. Kupec resigned his post on Sunday, and Tami Hansbrough resigned on Wednesday.
Dan Kane of the Raleigh News and Observer, who must thank his lucky stars every day for UNC providing him job security, reported the salacious details of the affair, including another case in Mississippi where Tami Hansbrough allegedly became involved with a married man. Moreover, it has been revealed that Kupec facilitated the creation of the position and arranged for it to report to the student affairs division to avoid nepotism regulations since the relationship between Kupec and Hansbrough was out in the open. Feel free to read all the sordid details in the newspaper.
Of course, this begs the question, what does this have to do with the AFAM mess or any of the other myriad problems at UNC right now? Absolutely nothing, other than giving another black eye to a university that has already been on the wrong end of a bar fight. None of this has anything to do with athletics, or academics, for that matter. The details that are fodder for a bad drama on the CW network are soap opera-ish and are made larger than life by the fact that both Kupec and Hansbrough have relations to athletics but have no real connection. If these two were not well-known names, it would be an important story but not an above-the-fold one.
Perhaps the biggest fallout over this entire affair is the departure of Kupec, who by all accounts was an accomplished fundraiser. Despite the football and now academic unpleasantness, one thing that has remained constant is UNC's fundraising prowess on the academic side. Now with Kupec gone, that area might be tricky. The other issue is how this impacts the tenuous position of Chancellor Holden Thorp. Kupec keeping the academic dollars rolling in insulated Thorp from some of the football fallout, but this is a crushing blow to the fundraising efforts, plus it seems clear that Thorp knew of the Kupec/Hansbrough relationship and yet allowed Hansbrough to assume the fundraising position and to move it out of the University Advancement office to avoid regulations.
As the title implies, however, this is yet another blow to any type of moving past the NCAA/AFAM/football mess. So much so that this hit both the ESPN ticker and the N&O lists it under the sports section even though this affair itself has absolutely nothing to do with athletics. And the hits just keep on coming...