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Gardening Q & A: Plants have own defenses; use right one

Gardening Q & A: Plants have own defenses; use right one

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is in the midst of an NCAA investigation into a system of fake classes taken by thousands of students, roughly half of them athletes, that spanned three decades. UNC officials are in Nashville this week at a hearing before the NCAA infractions committee. By Dan Kanedkane@newsobserver.com March 24, 2017 7:44 PM Newly released legal bills show UNC’s costs related to the long-running academic-athletic scandal are approaching $18 million.From mid-2015 to near the end of last year, UNC said Friday that it has spent another $5.6 million on legal costs for the NCAA investigation, three lawsuits by former athletes who say they were harmed by the scandal and document reviews for two public records requests. UNC had previously spent roughly $12 million on legal, investigative and public relations costs related to the scandal involving classes that had no instruction and provided high grades for papers regardless of quality.The largest recipient of the $5.6 million was the Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom law firm. Based in New York, it received more than $2 million. The firm had been assisting with the NCAA case, but roughly a year ago, had to back out because of a conflict, UNC officials said. The university is now using the Sidley Austin law firm and has paid it $508,000 through the first six months of 2016.Bond, Schoeneck & King, a law firm with headquarters in Syracuse, N.Y., that specializes in NCAA matters, received $1.3 million from August 2015 to December 2016. UNC also spent another $1.8 million to review, redact and then release public records requested by The News & Observer and The Daily Tar Heel, which is the student newspaper. The firm that UNC paid to conduct the most extensive investigation into the scandal, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, received $159,000 of that amount for producing records for UNC, and the rest went to unidentified parties. The requests were for the roughly 1.7 million records UNC provided to Cadwalader for its investigation, which was led by former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein, a partner in the firm.UNC officials say none of the money to pay the bills is coming from tuition or state appropriations.The legal bills are likely to continue for many months. Two of the athlete lawsuits await a decision in a federal court in Winston-Salem. U.S. District Judge Loretta C. Biggs held a hearing nearly a year ago to determine whether the cases should proceed to discovery, but has yet to issue a ruling.Meanwhile, the NCAA’s case against UNC, which includes major allegations of lack of institutional control and unethical conduct, was delayed again last week after one of the creators of the bogus classes, Deborah Crowder, an office manager for the African studies department, said in an affidavit that they were legitimate. She had not agreed to previous interview requests by the NCAA, but is now tentatively consenting to be interviewed.The bogus classes lasted 18 years and involved more than 3,100 students, roughly half of them athletes, Wainstein’s investigation found. The scandal is often cited in the national debate about the educations athletes receive in exchange for performing on the field or court.The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is in the midst of an NCAA investigation into a system of fake classes taken by thousands of students, roughly half of them athletes, that spanned three decades. UNC officials are in Nashville this week at a hearing before the NCAA infractions committee. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is in the midst of an NCAA investigation into a system of fake classes taken by thousands of students, roughly half of them athletes, that spanned three decades. UNC officials are in Nashville this week at a hearing before the NCAA infractions committee. This week, lawmakers in the state House and Senate filed companion bills calling for a commission to examine how college athletes are treated in UNC schools. The Senate bill, which was assigned to the rules committee, has 10 sponsors, while five lawmakers sponsored the House bill.The legal bills released Friday also reflect $3.2 million paid to Skadden to represent the university in an unrelated lawsuit involving its undergraduate admissions process.Louis Bissette tells reporter Dan Kane that he believes UNC could have acted "sooner and stronger" to do a thorough investigation of the academic scandal. Louis Bissette tells reporter Dan Kane that he believes UNC could have acted "sooner and stronger" to do a thorough investigation of the academic scandal. Dan Kane: 919-829-4861, @dankanenandoSign up today for a free 30 day free trial of unlimited digital access. View More Video



November 29, 2014 9:27 PM There is already a runaway winner for the title of most fascinating player for the Carolina Panthers in 2014: Kelvin Benjamin.The rookie wide receiver is by turns exhilarating and infuriating, fantastic and flawed. He is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, for you never know what you are going to get with the player Cam Newton affectionately calls “Benji.”Touchdown drop. A startling catch in which he tips the ball to himself in the end zone. Late for a team meeting and benched for the first three plays of a game. A 51-yard reception in double coverage against Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas. Benjamin has done all that and a lot more this season. He will have another chance for a big day Sunday in the cold at Minnesota, when Newton will once again look for his favorite receiver and hope for the best.Brian Billick, the former Super Bowl-winning head coach at Baltimore, both praised and criticized Benjamin in a recent column for NFL.com when he ranked the sterling rookie class of wide receivers. He put Benjamin at No. 4, behind Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans (first), the New York Giants’ Odell Beckham (second) and Buffalo’s Sammy Watkins (third).Billick wrote this to go along with his column: “Benjamin burst onto the scene with three touchdown catches in his first four games, but he’s since been as frustrating as he’s been impressive. There is no doubt that Benjamin has the physical tools to be great, but he is far too inconsistent to rank any higher on this list. Of course, even with all the mental errors and drops, he still has a scary 52 catches, 768 yards and eight touchdowns.”And that’s it, isn’t it? If Benjamin didn’t give you two great things every time he took another away, maybe he wouldn’t be worth the trouble. But he is a future Pro Bowl candidate wrapped in a 6-5, 240-pound body.“Cam Newton with dreads,” former Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith once called him, and in terms of body type that’s a very accurate description.Like Newton, the Panthers started Benjamin right away. It became apparent in training camp that Benjamin was the best receiver Carolina had following an offseason (and misguided) purge of the top four wide receivers from last season.Since then No. 13 has been the No. 1 receiver that Smith once was for this franchise. Benjamin is bigger than Smith, but not nearly as elusive after the catch. Benjamin’s specialty is the 5-yard slant pass, when he uses his big body to shield from smaller cornerbacks.But even that pass backfires sometimes. On Carolina’s second possession against Philadelphia in a Monday night game, Benjamin simply stopped running on a slant, allowing the cornerback to cut in front of him and intercept Newton.To be fair, Newton was also late throwing the ball. But as former NFL coach and TV yst Jon Gruden said on the broadcast: “Benjamin stopped running! You never stop running on a slant – ever!”In an interview this past week, Benjamin said he was still “learning” the NFL ropes and hopes to make fewer mistakes as his career goes on. Against the Vikings, he believes he will mostly be covered by Xavier Rhodes, a former teammate of Benjamin’s at Florida State. Benjamin has been involved in about half the highlight plays for an anemic Panthers offense this season. None of his catches had a higher degree of difficulty than the 51-yarder over Sherman and Thomas, which left Seattle’s standout cornerback praising the rookie afterward.“He’s a really good receiver,” Sherman said. “He’s huge, and he has a huge catch radius. You have to be aware of all that. He has speed. He made some fantastic plays today.”But while Benjamin has been the only Panthers player who can consistently get open this season, that doesn’t mean he will always catch the ball. He had three drops in one game and also dropped a TD pass against Seattle. But even after the errors, Newton routinely goes back to Benjamin within a few plays.He doesn’t have a choice, really. Newton’s only two consistent playmakers on offense this season have been Benjamin and tight end Greg Olsen. Benjamin noted that the Panthers have already played 11 games, which is about the length of many college football seasons. “This is the time when they say rookies will hit a wall,” Benjamin said.He doesn’t plan to do that, Benjamin said. His goals are simple: Get better, have fun and win a game, which the Panthers have not done since Oct. 5.As for Beckham and the other rookie wide receivers, Benjamin doesn’t much like to compare. He did say Beckham’s amazing one-handed catch against Dallas last Sunday night made him say “Wow,” and he did rate it a nine on a scale of 1-10. Benjamin said he wouldn’t give the acrobatic catch a 10 simply because the stakes weren’t high enough when Beckham made it.The stakes for Benjamin’s catches for the remainder of this season probably won’t be that high, either. But Benjamin remains the Panthers’ most fascinating player in a forgettable season – and a future potential superstar if he can ever harness that incredible potential.Sign up today for a free 30 day free trial of unlimited digital access. View More Video





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