Matt Kupec, North Carolina's vice chancellor for university advancement and one of the school's top fundraisers, resigned Sunday night after an internal review showed he and former Tar Heels basketball star Tyler Hansbrough's mother, Tami, charged personal trips to the university, The (Raleigh) News & Observer reported.
Chancellor Holden Thorp told the newspaper late Monday that Kupec and Hansbrough, who also is a fundraiser for the school, appear to have taken non-University-related trips to destinations where Hansbrough's youngest son, Ben, was playing basketball for Notre Dame. Thorp did not say how many trips the couple took.
Tami Hansbrough, who is divorced from her sons' father and who has been placed on administrative leave, was hired as an associate director of development at the UNC School of Dentistry in Dec. 2008 to serve as a fundraiser specializing in major gifts. Tyler Hansbrough was a senior at the time; the Tar Heels' basketball team won the national championship later that season.
When she was hired for that job in 2008, Tami Hansbrough stressed to the The News & Observer that she received no help from the athletics department in getting the position, that she had past experience in leading marketing efforts related to medical organizations and that she planned to retire in Chapel Hill.
"I would never do anything to jeopardize the program; I haven't even talked to Coach (Roy) Williams about where I'm working," Tami Hansbrough told the paper in 2008.
Thorp told the News & Observer on Monday that an audit of Tami Hansbrough's travel while she worked in the dentistry school found she had been traveling to cities in which Tyler was playing during UNC's NCAA championship run. However, Thorp said the trips were legitimate because she was raising money for the university -- and fans who made the trips likely would be donors.
He also told the newspaper that UNC's compliance office had reviewed Tami Hansbrough's travel information for compliance with NCAA rules -- and that he does not see the fundraising issue as an athletics department concern.
The questionable trips with Kupec apparently came after Tyler graduated, when Tami Hansbrough was hired as a major gifts officer reporting to vice chancellor of student affairs Winston Crisp. (Kupec wanted to hire Tami Hansbrough as a fundraiser in 2010, but Thorp told The News & Observer that he knew of their romantic relationship, and that it would have broken the school's nepotism policy). Tami Hansbrough is making $95,000 annually.
Kupec, a former North Carolina football player who broke numerous passing records from 1976-1979, issued a statement saying he was proud to have led two fundraising campaigns that raised $4 billion for the university, and that in his heart, "I will always be part of the Carolina family." He was making $349,800 annually.
Meanwhile, UNC has begun an audit of the travel expenses.
"This is a difficult day," Thorp said in a prepared statement. "Matt has made significant contributions over the years, raising billions of dollars for the University. However, these are serious issues that require a thorough investigation."