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Eddy Landreth: Misinformation and Innuendo

Now that THF has had his say about the garbage spewed forth on both sides of the UNC football unpleasantness by two writers who once fashioned themselves as respectable journalists, I wanted to get in my two cents worth by looking at the Eddy Landreth piece itself and the misinformation and innuendo contained within.

As a bit of background, let me say one of my major frustrations with the coverage of the entire NCAA fiasco has been the shoddy research and writing of journalists who ought to know better.  As such, I have written extensively about this topic, from reporters and others who continued to report the infamous Marvin Austin tweet as him having actually been in Club Liv long after that was proven to be a rap lyric, to Dan Kane’s “I’m not saying, I’m just saying” brand of “investigative journalism“, in which he lays out a premise but offers no proof and invites the reader to draw a conclusion.

In many ways, this seems to be the tack Landreth takes with his piece, relying heavily on innuendo and implication to make the case of some grand conspiracy to fire Butch Davis. The premise itself is ridiculous enough; never mind the misinformation and mangled facts he uses to advance that line of thought.

Still, I found it fun to deconstruct Landreth’s piece and took me about five minutes and a handful of Google searches to do so. So here goes:

The law firm of which Hargrove is a partner — Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, L.L.P. — represents the Raleigh News & Observer and Capitol Broadcasting. Either Hargrove himself or his law firm has represented the News & Observer at three times in court since the late 1980s.

These cases are a public record.

Both the News & Observer and Capitol Broadcasting had sued the university for all information in regards to the NCAA investigation of the football program recently before Hargrove became chair of the Board of Trustees.

There is no evidence the firm represented either party against UNC in this particular suit, but both remain clients, which is information Hargrove should have revealed.

There is no evidence the firm represented the N&O or CBC because the records lawsuit was filed by the firm of Stevens Martin Vaughn & Tadych. Hargrove’s firm of Brooks Pierce had nothing at all to do with the recent suit against UNC for the football records.

Brooks-Pierce-McLendon-Humphrey & Leonard Clients

(Read to the bottom of the page on this above link and you will see this firm still represents Capitol Broadcasting and the Raleigh News & Observer.)…

Whether Hargrove ever actually participated in any of the court proceedings against UNC is irrelevant in regards to the law. He is a member of the law firm that sued UNC on behalf of the Raleigh News & Observer in the past.

The link provided in the Landreth piece is to the Martindale Law Directory listing for Brooks Pierce. What is provided is a list of “representative clients”; I am not sure if these are active clients as Landreth asserts.

But if you follow his instructions and scroll to the bottom, below the listing of CBC and the N&O as clients, you will find another intriguing client listed: THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA. That’s right, in addition to CBC and the N&O, Brooks Pierce has also represented UNC! So Hargrove “is a member of the law firm that sued UNC” as well as of a firm that also represented UNC. Kind of inconvenient, isn’t it Eddy?

The minutes from the Board of Trustees on July 27, 2011, Willis P. Whichard, former associate justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, administered the Oath of Office to new and reappointed members of the Board:

Hargrove was made the chair, even though he had not been in line for the duty.

Landreth’s insinuation here is that there is something fishy about Hargrove becoming chairman of the board. Hargrove was not “made the chair”, he was elected as chair. In addition, the sitting vice-chair, Barbara Hyde, was re-elected vice chair for the upcoming term. Hard to believe Hyde would have remained as vice chair if there was a power play or Hargrove’s ascension was somehow suspect. This is not like the Rotary Club where the vice chair automatically moves up.

Before the Board began to conduct its business, Vice Chair Barbara R. Hyde read the state law concerning ethics and conflicts of interest.

“As Chair of the Board of Trustees, it is my responsibility to remind all members of the Board of their duty under the State Government Ethics Act to avoid conflicts of interest and appearances of conflict of interest as required by this Act. Each member has received the agenda and related information for this Board of Trustees’ meeting. If any Board member knows of any conflict of interest or appearance of conflict with respect to any matter coming before the Board of Trustees at this meeting, the conflict or appearance of conflict should be identified at this time.”

There is no mention of anyone identifying any conflicts within the minutes. The minutes from the May 25-26, 2011 meeting were approved, and Hargrove was then elected chair.

Again, Landreth asserts his point by insinuation. Hyde read the ethics statement and no one raised a conflict. Landreth is trying to say without saying that someone should have pointed out Hargrove’s conflict, or that Hyde read the statement knowing there was a conflict. But a simple review of the minutes of the other UNC Board of Trustees meetings from 2011 (available online here) reveals this statement is read at the beginning of every BOT meeting. In other words, there is no ulterior motive to that statement; it is simply a standard part of every meeting.

Then Landreth makes a bizarre point about UNC vice chancellor (and former football player) Matt Kupec, which seems to have nothing to do with his railing against Hargrove’s conflict of interest:

It is also worth noting that university vice chancellor Matt Kupec attended the meeting that day.

He addressed the Board during one of its three closed sessions that day, sessions which the public and the media were prohibited from attending.

What is unusual is Kupec is a fundraiser who normally makes his reports during the open portion of the meetings. But on this day, the minutes read: “Matt Kupec presented naming recommendations to Committee of the Whole.”

Unusual, Eddy? There’s nothing unusual or worth noting about his attendance at the July meeting or any other meeting of the BOT. Again, just reviewing the minutes from the previous 2011 BOT meetings, Kupec attended every one and made the same reports in open and closed session at each meeting. At the July meeting, he made a fundraising report in open session and then addressed the board in closed session about “naming recommendations” (whatever those are, which is irrelevant for this discussion).  Landreth’s wording would imply that Kupec did not make a report in open session, but he did. He did the presentations in both open and closed sessions at the January, March, and May meetings as well; again, this is information easily accessed online.

I don’t know what Landreth was meaning to imply about Kupec’s participation in this meeting, but five minutes’ worth of research would have shown Kupec did the same this in the July meeting as he did every time the board met.

Sadly, Eddy Landreth has cleared out a niche in the moonbat section of the UNC fanbase and has posted to a supposedly legitimate site a rant that would barely be worthy of being posted by a board monkey. A disclaimer on Landreth’s post says that “This story is property of TarHeelIllustrated.com and Yahoo! Sports. Any use should credit both.” Given the fine work Yahoo has done on the ills of college football lately, I don’t believe they would want their name associated with this piece of junk.

As THF noted in his piece, this kind of low-rent writing on either the booger-eaters side by Chansky or the mouth-breathers side by Landreth does nothing to advance the dialogue about Carolina football and hinders the efforts of real journalists and others who seek to have thoughtful discourse and reporting about the program and its future.

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23 comments to Eddy Landreth: Misinformation and Innuendo

  • william

    All I care about is the damage to the school’s academic standing, which has been substantial.

    I went to UNC for four years and I never met anyone there who really cared whether UNC won a football game or not. To be honest, even the basketball fans were a bit laid back then. We had just won the title in 1982 and it seemed almost rude to expect to win another too soon. That being said, basketball games were serious endeavors. Football Saturdays were a much bigger deal than most basketball games, but there were only 6 of them a year and basically, they were a party, nothing more.

    I know that we are now being told how great the SEC is and how much money they are making (check how much they make after coaches’ salaries and recruiting expenses are subtracted), but I really don’t care. We have seen what it takes to compete with the Auburn and Alabama’s of the world. I root for UNC in football, while realizing realistically, that we have to let the SEC schools have it, since they want football success more than we do and are willing to do basically anything to get such success.

    Aside from that, why not move on. Butch Davis wasn’t the worst guy ever, but you don’t hire a coach from Miami without expecting some baggage. UNC wasn’t prepared for said baggage. The “U” is the “U” and that stuff follows a coach around. UNC needs to find an honest, hardworking coach and if he can only win 6-9 games a year while upholding school standards, than that should be enough.

    This idea that one school can be great in all sports is simply unrealistic. Anyone who has ever looked at it thoroughly knows that. There is no such thing as a school that is great in both basketball and football and if you have to choose between the two, basketball is much more likely to be the one that coincides with being a top-notch academic institution.

  • Asheville Heel

    So, to settle for mediocrity is our goal? How does that dove-tail with the institution’s mission statement of “striving for excellence”?

  • We are entering an era where graft and corruption will run wild because investigative journalism has gone the way of the the horse and buggy. With media slashing their staffs to the bone, there are dwindling resources to make the painstaking and drawn out work of reporting on the byzantine ways and means of corrupt government and corporations possible. What we’re left with is often like the above example of “journalism”, sadly.

    However, here is a suggestion from Howard Beale that may not change things but will likely make you feel a lot better about this: http://youtu.be/Ao3FuGEGcU8

  • smallandpettypat

    “This idea that one school can be great in all sports is simply unrealistic. Anyone who has ever looked at it thoroughly knows that. There is no such thing as a school that is great in both basketball and football and if you have to choose between the two, basketball is much more likely to be the one that coincides with being a top-notch academic institution.”

    Texas is very good at both bball and the footballs. UCONN isn’t doing so bad at both. Florida State and Virginia Tech, while not on the same level, aren’t slouches either. Florida won back-to-back basketball championships and won a National Championship in football at the same time. Ohio State have won conference championships in both sports in the same year FOUR times since ’06. It is very possible to do it in both and I don’t see why we shouldn’t aspire to do so as well.

    Additionally, BGDD had the rep of a “clean” guy coming out of the U. He was credited as being one of the main guys to straighten a befouled program out. The thinking at the time was that he had no baggage (other than being a poor game-day coach). There was no “stuff” following him around. That we knew of.

  • chapelhillfan

    How many times has Va Tech made the tournament in basketball? UConn is a power in football??? FSU is a basketball power??? How many times has Texas made the Final Four? Florida basketball took a steep nose-dive after the titles, but that is at least a credible argument. I’ll give you Ohio State, but that is about the only example that can be cited of a consistent run of a school being a power in both basketball and football.

  • Heel To The End

    i went to the School of Journalism with Eddy, knew Eddy, but i dont know what he’s doing with this. :/

  • smallandpettypat

    UConn has always had a good bball team and has been to a bowl game in each of the last four years, UT went to the NCAA tourney every single year from 98-99 until 09-10, FSU has made the tourney in each of the last three years. VaTech fails to make the tourney because Seth Greenberg’s whiny ass irks everyone, but they definitely field good teams in bball with regularity.

    Texas and Fla alone validate my argument. Throwing in Ohio State and the rest is gravy.

    BTW, UCLA has been to ten bowl games since ’97 and has has been to the NCAA tourney eleven times in that span (losing their first game only twice, losing in the elite eight once, the sweet sixteen four times, the final four twice, and the NC game once). So not only is it possible to be a power in both, it’s probable. Don’t be a negative nancy.

  • yawper

    william, please enlighten me as to this substantial damage to UNC’s academic reputation. I haven’t noticed any, at all. In fact, we just went up one spot in USN&WR, if one cares about these things. Have we started losing out on grant money because Marvin and Greg put their hands out? Have top students stopped applying because Jennifer Wiley got too friendly with the football team and did edits for their papers that regular students do for their friends every single day? Have we lost faculty because of the whole sordid business, perhaps to places like Michigan or Stanford where they don’t bother to field competitive football teams?

  • HeelYeah

    I think the issue is what determines “successful”. william mentions having an honest coach winning 6-9 games most years, and I agree. And if going to bowls is our measure of success, then 6-9 wins will do it every year. I think william is considering success to be what our bball program has achieved. Maybe the better argument is that it is difficult/impossible to be a top ten program in both basketball and football year after year. Some years you may do it, but usually that is not going to happen.

  • william

    Every time I pick up a sports magazine or watch ESPN, I seem to see UNC lumped in with Miami and OSU. If you don’t think that is damaging to the school’s academic reputation, then all that I can say is that I hope you are right.

    In terms of dual programs in football and basketball, certainly teams make breakthroughs from time to time. Florida won its basketball titles with relatively unheralded recruiting classes and then fell back down to respectable, but hardly a perennial top ten program.

    Obviously a school can have a year where they have big success in both sports. UNC had an era like that or almost, in the late 90′s. What it takes for sustained success in football, however, is for football to be the acknowledged number one sport at the school. Most of the counter-examples people offer have to do with football schools who have some good basketball years, not the reverse. It simply takes a lot of guys to play big time football and they want the stage on them.

    To me the test is to ask a casual fan what they think a school is known for, football or basketball, and see how many basketball schools have ever come close to having sustained football excellence.

    UNC was unsure, as late as the early 80′s, whether it wanted to be a football or basketball school. UNC football had some pretty darn good years prior to 1984. Two things happened more or less back to back to change that. UNC went to two straight finals, won a title and had the greatest player of all time after Wilt Chamberlain on its team, while Dick Crum basically pissed away the football program.

    Let’s find a great coach who will monitor his football players and we may well achieve a season in football like Kansas had a couple of years back, but just don’t expect it to last, just as it didn’t at Kansas or Louisville (who beat Wake in the Orange Bowl) or Rutgers or ….

  • CarMichael

    “Naming recommendations” would be recommendations by the development office to name certain buildings (etc) after donors. These would logically be made in closed session in case the BOT should decide to refuse a recommendation, which would embarrass both the fundraisers and the donor. It should have been obvious to Landreth that there was no reason to suspect something fishy about Kupec’s reporting in closed session.

  • notoriousii

    ^^University of Miami’s academic rank is 38, The Ohio State’s ranking is 55, both more than respectable and nothing academically damaging, carry on.

  • smallandpettypat

    “UNC went to two straight finals, won a title and had the greatest player of all time after Wilt Chamberlain on its team, while Dick Crum basically pissed away the football program.”

    David Thompson never played for the Heels. I am as big a Heels fan as there is but even I have to acknowledge that DT was a far superior college baller than MJ. MJ is the undisputed king of the pros, though.

    As to the other discussion: there are multiple examples of schools that stay at or near the top in both sports. And contending for NCs shouldn’t be the only measure of success; wins and losses should be an important factor.

  • yawper

    william, let’s take another example. USC, with a highly visible and messy football scandal, continues to climb the USN&WR charts. In fact, they’ve passed UCLA for the first time ever in the last two years. Now, USN&WR isn’t the be-all and end-all, but it is widely referenced.

    My argument is that the football “scandal” has basically zero impact on the real academic reputation of the university. What it mostly has impacted, in my opinion, is the ability of UNC fans to lord it over fans of rival institutions with our perceived squeaky clean image and “Carolina Way.”

  • makeitWayne22

    I dont understand why UNC fans cant be satisfied with the best basketball program in the country, and a decent hard working football team.

    Texas coach is the reason they will never win anything in basketball.

  • william

    I never said that Michael Jordan was the greatest college player of all time. That accolade is most likely between Alcindor, Walton and Thompson.

    I said that Jordan was the second greatest player of all time and I stand by that. Wilt, then Jordan, then you can argue about Bill and Oscar and Kareem and Shaq and the others who were also great college and pro and perhaps, Olympic players.

    Wilt is Zeus, however.

    OSU and Michigan, which are huge schools, are the closest to breaking “my rule of thumb” about football and basketball success, but they have both suffered many years of wilderness in basketball, periods of time that UNC basketball fans would never stand for.

    This was the first year in many, many years that Michigan was decent again in basketball. OSU is perhaps a better example with its Jerry Lucas and John Havlichek pettigree. But last time I checked, OSU had not won a basketball title in the last 50 years, and you can put that in your dual sports pipe and smoke it.

    You can bring MSU in. They are more on the basektball side, however, having last won a national title (disputed at that) back in 1966 in football.

    Honestly, the best example for dual sports excellence is probably Stanford, but they can’t sustain either sport, going back and forth, as does Cal. USC and UCLA prove the point perfectly. Each has many, many titles in its preferred sport and zero in the other. ‘Nuff said.

    Listen, I have put some time into this. If you haven’t done any serious research, there is not much to add here. Either provide examples of schools that have sustained excellence in both sports or simply fall back on the “hope” that it could happen to us.

    Well, I will quote you UCLA, Kentucky, Indiana, Duke, UConn, UNC , NC State and Kansas as multiple basketball champions since the mid-1970′s, none of whom have contended for a football national title since Gary Beban and UCLA did back in the mid-60′s.

    I don’t understand why some people seem to get so bent out of shape about a realistic appraisal of the situation. Duke caught a rising star in the ole ball coach, but once he left, well, no. IU basketball will be back. IU football will never be. Now Spurrier is at South Carolina and he has had a huge struggle turning that program around, because most of its success (and not much of that since 1973) had been in basketball (and I guess baseball now, which is rising as a college sport and is something else UNC football has to compete with given how excellent our baseball program is. That wasn’t even a factor 30 years ago.)

  • makeitWayne22

    There are no dual threats… Texas and Uconn never win championships in their secondary sports. Im with you William!

  • PRGuy

    Doc just pwnd Landreth. And I agree that the football scandal will not have a long-term detrimental effect on UNC’s academic standing. It looks that way to people who consume lots of sports media, but that’s not the general public. I doubt some potential Morehead-McCain scholar would withdraw his application because Jennifer Wiley and Julius Nyangoro apparently have serious boundary issues. Having its budget slashed by 20% will have a far worse impact on UNC’s academics.

  • william

    We all hope that is true.

    Nevertheless, the embarrassment factor is real and likely to affect donations to the school. The idea of feeling superior to other schools based upon the notion of abiding by NCAA rules seems to me to be a sound basis for feeling superior. If UNC has lost that, it is hard to see how that is any sort of positive.

    Carolina had essentially never had NCAA sanctions in football or basketball going back to the beginning of the Dean Smith era. I am not going to be assuaged, somehow, that these incidences under Coach Davis are no big deal.

    They are a big deal.

  • Asheville Heel

    Somebody cancel the feed order; the horse is dead!

  • smallandpettypat

    I did do the research william, and I presented it to you in very easy to read terms. You never said “schools can’t win championships in two revenue sports year in and year out”. You simply said “This idea that one school can be great in all sports is simply unrealistic”. I showed you that you are wrong. UCLA, UConn, THEE Ohio State, Texas, and Florida have all done it. Now, if you want to turn your argument into a moving target and retroactively say “what I had meant to say was that no school will ever be able to win NCs in two revenue sports at the same time consistently” then I’m with you. But that is not what you said.

  • william

    Obviously, none of us have the time or space for a thesis here, but I am glad you ultimately agree with me. Go Tar Heels in every sport but I will always love Tar Heel basketball most.