Big 12/College News
Thorp said Kupec, the vice chancellor for university advancement, offered his resignation Sunday night after Thorp told Kupec a review of his travel with Tami Hansbrough, the divorced mother of former UNC star basketball player Tyler Hansbrough, showed trips that did not appear to be university related. Thorp said those trips appear to have included destinations where her other son, Ben Hansbrough, then a star basketball player at Notre Dame, was playing, but Thorp did not say how many.
“Last night I told Matt what I had been finding and I was going to have to do a thorough investigation of his travel, and he offered his resignation,” Thorp said, adding he accepted it.
…The personnel changes and internal investigation involving the mother of one of UNC’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.
…The personnel changes give another twist to Hansbrough’s unusual work history at UNC-Chapel Hill. She was originally hired on Dec. 8, 2008, as a fundraiser for the foundation that serves UNC-CH’s dental school.
At the time, her son Tyler, a senior, was beginning his final season on the basketball team, a season that would bring the university a national championship. Tyler Hansbrough was named an All-America and now plays in the NBA.
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.
…In mid-2010, Kupec sought to hire a fundraiser. By then, Kupec was in a relationship with Hansbrough, Thorp said, and Thorp had heard that she might be interested in the job. When Thorp learned that she would be reporting to Kupec in the new job, Thorp told Kupec he could not hire her because it would violate the university’s nepotism policy since they were in a relationship.
The position disappeared and was never filled. A short time later, another fundraising position surfaced, only this time it reported to Winston Crisp, who is the vice chancellor for student affairs. Thorp said he had supported the position being created.
After what Thorp said was a proper job search with multiple candidates, Crisp hired Hansbrough for the job. But Hansbrough traveled regularly with Kupec, who separated from his wife in October 2009. The marriage ended two years later, Orange County records show.
The divorce papers indicate that Kupec had committed “marital misconduct” according to North Carolina law. Kupec first joined the university as a fundraiser in 1992 and became the vice chancellor for university advancement in 1995. He made a $349,800 annual salary.
Harvard senior co-captain Kyle Casey plans to withdraw from school and is likely to miss the entire 2012-13 season after being implicated in a widespread academic cheating scandal, multiple sources told SI.com. With Harvard's fall registration deadline looming Tuesday, Casey faced the decision of whether to withdraw in order to attempt to preserve his final year of eligibility.
On Aug. 30, Harvard College announced in a letter that its administrative board was investigating allegations that approximately 125 undergraduates "may have committed acts of academic dishonesty, ranging from inappropriate collaboration to outright plagiarism, on a take-home final exam." The exam was for Government 1310: Introduction to Congress, a spring 2012 class with an enrollment of 279. Sources said that Casey and at least one other men's basketball player are among a group of athletes and non-athletes whose cases are pending review. The first-team all-Ivy League forward is facing a charge of academic dishonesty that could carry a one-year suspension from school.
Neither Harvard coach Tommy Amaker nor Casey returned calls or messages from SI requesting comment on Monday night. According to sources, Casey had the option of enrolling for the fall 2012 semester and fighting the allegations, but risked losing his final season of Ivy League eligibility if the administrative board did not rule in his favor. By withdrawing for two semesters, Casey is leaving the door open for re-admission to Harvard -- and a return to the basketball team -- in 2013-14 once his case is settled. This March, with Casey averaging a team-high 11.4 points per game, the Amaker-led Crimson won their first-ever Ivy League title and reached their first NCAA tournament since 1946.
In an Aug. 31 story in the New York Times, Harvard's dean of undergraduate education, Jay Harris, said that the alleged cheating scandal is "unprecedented in its scope and magnitude." The Harvard Crimson reported this week that the school's football team was bracing for potential lineup changes due to players being implicated in the scandal.
When Josh Selby enrolled at Kansas, there were plenty of question marks about his eligibility and just how long it would take for him to don a Jayhawk uniform.
For those that don’t remember, it ultimately took the NCAA until November 19th for the NCAA to finally make a ruling, when they suspended him for the first nine games of the season.
And while the particulars of the case are different, the investigation into the amateur standing of Shabazz Muhammad has a similar feel to it. In other words, don’t be surprised if the Bruins are left in limbo in regards to their star recruit well into the start of the season.
But according to Andy Katz, there is a chance that Muhammad could start the season with his team thanks to a quirk in the NCAA’s rulebook:
The NCAA has granted Devonta Abron a waiver to play for TCU this season, meaning the former Arkansas starter won't be required to sit out one year per normal Division I transfer rules.
TCU announced the development Monday morning.
"I am pleased we were able to work with the NCAA to get a resolution in regards to Devonta's status," said TCU coach Trent Johnson. "We are excited that he will be on the floor for us in our first season as a member of the Big 12."
Abron is a Dallas native -- that's the root of the waiver; he's now closer to home -- who played in all 32 games for Arkansas last season. The 6-foot-8 forward started 22 games and averaged 5.7 points and 4.2 rebounds in just 16.3 minutes per contest. He's expected to start in TCU's frontcourt this season.
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The 5-foot-11 Jones, who is originally from Memphis, Tenn., was ranked No. 47 nationally in the recruiting Class of 2011 by Rivals.com.
…“Coach Self likes the way Chris moves his feet defensively,” Northwest Florida State coach Steve Forbes told Rivals.com. “Coach (Self) likes his ability to defend the ball, and I think that defense has always been a top priority for Kansas and for coach Self.
Jackson, a 6-1 senior from Mishawaka, Ind., who is ranked No. 27 by Rivals.com, has a list of KU, Illinois, Louisville, Kentucky, Notre Dame and others. Rivals.com indicates he has “long been a top target of Notre Dame, his hometown school.”
Barber, 6-2 senior from Hampton (Va.) High, visited KU two weeks ago and Louisville last weekend. The No. 9-ranked player is also considering Alabama and North Carolina State. Barber visited Louisville with Marcus Lee, a 6-9 forward from Deer Valley High in Antioch, Calif. Lee, who is ranked No. 15 nationally, will visit Kentucky on Oct. 12 and Indiana on Oct. 19. He also has KU, Duke, Cal and UCLA on his list.
…No. 5-ranked Aaron Gordon, a 6-8 forward from Archbishop Mitty High in San Jose, Calif., will visit KU for the Oct. 12 Late Night in the Phog, Rivals.com reports. He has KU, Arizona, Kentucky, Washington, Oregon, Cal, Stanford and New Mexico on his list.
On the first day he could, University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino was in Florida on Sunday night to visit highly regarded junior-college point guard Chris Jones – a sign that he is a top target for the Cardinals in their search of a 2013 replacement for senior Peyton Siva.
Jones, the 5-foot-11 sophomore for Northwest Florida State College, said he enjoyed a nearly hour-long meeting with Pitino and assistant coach Kevin Keatts. He’ll be at U of L this weekend for his third of five official visits.
“We had a good meeting,” Jones said. “… (Pitino) was just telling me how he needed a point guard who could come in and solidify the season because they don’t have a point guard next year.”
…Jones was also impressed with Self.
“It was basically the same thing (as U of L), they’re ready to put the ball in my hands,” Jones said.
He said that both Self and Pitino told him they usually recruit high school point guards but believe he is just as good and perhaps more prepared than high school prospects because of his college experience.
(U of L and KU are also among the final options for five-star Virginia high school point guard Anthony Barber.)
After seeing Louisville, Jones will have two official visits left, to Florida State (Sept. 21) and Kansas (Oct. 12 for its Midnight Madness event) with a decision after that.
Coaches from Baylor and Memphis were expected to be at Northwest Florida State today.
He’ll meet with FSU next week.
Jones liked what he saw during his visit to Baylor.
“It was good,” he said. “I liked everything. Everything felt good.”
The high school basketball career of Shaqquan Aaron has taken another turn as Rainier Beach head coach Mike Bethea confirmed Monday morning that the rising junior star is enrolled at the Seattle school.
Aaron, a 6-foot-7 guard ranked No. 13 in the MaxPreps Class of 2014 Top 100, played at Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) as a freshman, helping the Monarchs go 32-3 and win California's Division I state title.
…Recent indications pointed toward the five-star talent playing at Granite Hills (Apple Valley), but instead he will join Washington's defending Class 3A state champions.
According to Bethea, Aaron's move to the Emerald City came as a surprise to him, saying, "They (Rainier Beach administrators) called me down to the office and said, 'You have a new player.'"
Bethea added that Aaron came to the area with his mother.
The Vikings were already expecting big things this winter with the return of state tournament MVP MarQuis Davis, Djuan Piper and burly post Elijah Foster. Kansas signee Anrio Adams was the lone senior for Beach in 2011-12.
Rainier Beach has won six state titles since 1988 and is noted for producing a steady stream of NBA players, including Jamal Crawford, Doug Christie, Nate Robinson and Terrence Williams.
Despite the transfers and general uncertainty regarding his status, Aaron showed this summer he is still an elite prospect. He is a one of the top scorers in the 2014 class and possesses unique size on the perimeter.
One weekend in Manhattan sold Marcus Foster on the Kansas State basketball program.
Foster, a 6-foot-2 guard from Wichita Falls, Texas, made an official visit to K-State last weekend and Monday gave the Wildcats and coach Bruce Weber an oral commitment.
"When I got there, I felt like I bonded right away with the coaches and the players," Foster said. "I fit in real good and that's why I made my decision.
"My visit went great. I loved the academic program. The academic people I met were amazing and I'm going to get my degree at the end of four years. The fans love basketball there, and growing up it was always my dream to play in the Big 12. With all the schools in Texas, my parents will be able to watch me play a lot."
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