OK, this is not the Hansbrough everyone would expect to get caught for traveling, but a new and unlikely story has come out of Chapel Hill in the past couple of days. Props to the Pack Pride posters who initially came up with the title of this post. Great line and I had to use it.
Dan Kane of the News and Observer reported that the Vice Chancellor of University Advancement, Matt Kupec, resigned over his travel expenses, especially those taken with Tami Hansbrough, the divorced mother of Tyler Hansbrough. Kupec and Hansbrough were dating and had taken personal trips to go watch Tamiâ€™s son Ben, a starting guard on the Notre Dame basketball team, but had expensed them to the university.
Matt Kupec, a star quarterback for UNC-Chapel Hill who later returned to become its chief fundraiser, resigned Sunday after an internal investigation showed he and university fundraiser Tami Hansbrough appear to have taken personal trips at the universityâ€™s expense, Chancellor Holden Thorp said Monday.
The personnel changes and internal investigation involving the mother of one of UNCâ€™s most popular basketball players come amid a yearlong academic fraud investigation that also has ties to athletics. But Thorp said he did not see the fundraising controversy as being an athletics concern.
Thorp said Tami Hansbrough, a major gifts officer who earns $95,000 annually, has been placed on administrative leave as that investigation continues. Kupec declined to be interviewed Monday night but released a statement confirming the resignation. He did not provide details but thanked the university for his time there. Hansbrough could not be reached.
Thorp confirmed that a dental foundation audit later found that during that championship run, Tami Hansbrough had been traveling to cities in which Tyler Hansbrough was playing basketball. But 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.
Today, Dan Kane kept up his great work with some fascinating information about how Hansbrough was hired.
A fundraising position at UNC-Chapel Hill filled by Tami Hansbrough was the result of direct efforts by Matt Kupec, the universityâ€™s chief fundraiser who was also in a relationship with her, a top university administrator acknowledged in an interview Tuesday.
The $95,000-a-year job for Hansbrough was also funded by Kupecâ€™s office, said Winston Crisp, the universityâ€™s vice chancellor for student affairs.
The job for Hansbrough, who is the mother of former UNC basketball star Tyler Hansbrough, is listed on organizational charts as being part of Crispâ€™s office â€“ an arrangement approved by Crisp and UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorp that allowed the university to bypass concerns about the relationship and move Hansbrough into the job.
Kupecâ€™s relationship with Hansbrough raises questions about the mother of a basketball star getting two jobs at the university, and it has brought to light Tami Hansbroughâ€™s past activities in Mississippi, where another of her sons was playing basketball in 2007.
Kupec had initially established a new fundraising position in his own office, and Hansbrough expressed interest in it, Thorp said Monday. Thorp said he intervened when he learned of the possible hiring, citing his knowledge of the relationship and nepotism rules that would prevent Kupec from having Hansbrough work in his office.
In an interview, Thorp said he supported the ultimate arrangement of having Hansbrough work in the student affairs fundraising job â€“ one that he said was the result of a wide search for a â€œgifts officerâ€ who would raise money from parents.
Tami Hansbrough, who was divorced, had moved from Missouri to live near Mississippi State University, where her son Ben played basketball in 2007.
Lisa Fritz alleged in court documents that beginning in 2007, Hansbrough had seduced Fritzâ€™s husband, leading to his separation from her in early 2008 and then divorce. Fritz, who could not be reached Tuesday, alleged emotional distress and sought damages.
By the middle of 2008, Ben Hansbrough transferred to Notre Dame, and Tami Hansbrough has said she started looking to be closer to Tyler in Chapel Hill as he began his senior season with the Tar Heels.
She was first hired for a fundraising job in the UNC-CH dentistry schoolâ€™s foundation in December 2008, records show.
The universityâ€™s announcement at the time said Tami Hansbrough â€œhas led marketing efforts related to medical organizations and outreach â€“ including her leadership of a womanâ€™s health fair in her former state of Missouri.â€
The news release did not mention that she lived more recently in Mississippi or detail any work history there.
Tami Hansbrough said at the time that the athletics department was not involved in her hiring.
Even though I remember discussing with my friends at the time of her initial hiring at UNC the question of was there no better candidate for the dental fundraising job east of the Mississippi, I never could have imagined what Kane has uncovered. Any time that anyone thinks the UNC scandal is slowing down or is in a lull, new and more incredible angles are released. So now that a UNC affiliated Hansbrough got caught for improper traveling (expenses), whatâ€™s the next prong to be released? Any guesses? I am going with a required mathematics class titled â€œCurry Math 101â€.