No doubt, for months, the phones have been ringing off of the hook at the Raleigh News and Observer with UNC fans on the other end of the line frothing off at the mouth about the paper’s recent coverage of their favorite school. Those fans, after they get through bemoaning the paper’s coverage of the Neverending Story, aka The UNC Scandal, have surely screamed and yelled that surely the same or probably even worse indiscretions happen over in Raleigh.
The N&O looked into things, and here’s the dirt they found: D. McQueen Campbell III, a former trustee of NC State who resigned in the wake of the Mary Easley scandal, provided six flights to Wolfpack head coaches. That’s legal, by the way, and is above board.
In other words, the only thing of interest in the story are Campbell’s past indiscretions and his continuing donations to the Wolfpack Club. Nothing more. No improper benefits were given to coaches or players, no grades were given for classes not attended, no eleven year olds were plagiarized, and no systemic coverups or baldfaced lies were told by university officials when asked about the six flights that McQueen provided. From the looks of it, the N&O went on a fishing expedition looking for trouble and went to print with all that they had, which was 1,514 words about nothing.
Read for yourself:
D. McQueen Campbell III, who resigned from the N.C. State University Board of Trustees in disgrace, has found a second act at the university and is again rubbing shoulders with prominent NCSU leaders, this time as an aerial chauffeur for the university’s top coaches.
When he was last in the public eye, the Raleigh real estate broker was testifying at a 2009 state Board of Elections hearing into alleged campaign law violations by former Gov. Mike Easley. In a plea arrangement, Easley was convicted of a felony tied to violating six state campaign finance laws. The violations were all related to a $1,600 helicopter flight Campbell provided him.
Three of the flights with Gottfried were for recruiting in Maryland and Charlotte, and the others were to Charlotte for a meeting with ESPN officials and to South Carolina for a coaches’ cancer charity event. O’Brien was flown to South Carolina to watch the Shrine Bowl and for recruiting.
And were they on the up-and-up, meaning did Campbell go around university officials or the Wolfpack Club? No, actually, he provided the service as a donation-in-kind for his Wolfpack Club dues, which is not only legal in the eyes of the law and the NCAA, it is also common.
The Campbell family claimed $28,556 for the flights in credit as gifts-in-kind to the booster organization. It’s unclear how much of that was credited specifically to McQueen Campbell.
NCSU Athletic Director Debbie Yow wrote in an email statement that she knew Campbell was giving rides to coaches.
“I am aware that a handful of donors to the Student Aid Association (Wolfpack Club) are willing to provide business-related flight service to our men’s basketball or football coach in lieu of their monetary contributions in a given year, if the planes are available,” she wrote. “I understand that Mr. Campbell is one of those individuals.”