Duke

Duke billed UNC $27,000 for paint damage after Nov. football game

The Tar Heels celebrate their 45-20 victory over Duke by painting the victory bell Carolina blue on Thursday, November 19, 2014 at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, N.C.
The Tar Heels celebrate their 45-20 victory over Duke by painting the victory bell Carolina blue on Thursday, November 19, 2014 at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, N.C. rwillett@newsobserver.com

After the University of North Carolina defeated Duke in football on Nov. 24, the Tar Heels spray-painted the Victory Bell – and the Blue Devils’ practice facility turf and visitor’s locker room. And Duke billed UNC $27,170.44 for the damages, according to information obtained in a public records request.

Most of the money – $22,028.44 – went toward new carpet in the Duke visitor’s locker room. According to an email sent from Gerald Harrison, the Duke associate athletic director who oversees football, to UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham, 60 carpet tiles were spray painted, and they weren’t able to be cleaned. That required a full carpet replacement throughout the facility, Harrison wrote.

An additional $672.00 was required to remove spray paint from Duke’s practice field – there was a spray-painted line from one 30-yard line to the 50-yard line, according to the email. And $4,470.00 was needed to paint the walls of the practice facility and three panels in Wallace Wade Stadium that had been sprayed U-N-C. “UNC” was also spray painted four places in the practice facility.

In a formal apology letter to Duke athletic director Kevin White on Feb. 3, Cunningham said he was disappointed that Duke football coach David Cutcliffe never returned UNC coach Larry Fedora’s apology call, which came the Friday following the game.

Two personal checks from Cunningham and Fedora – each for $13,585.22 – were sent to Duke in January to cover the costs.

Additionally, each of the Tar Heels’ players had their per diem to cover meals taken away for the following game “in an effort to learn from this experience and to hold ourselves accountable to the ideals that we teach and try to instill in our students.” The team also completed a community service project in the Chapel Hill neighborhood of Heritage Hills, helping to rake leaves and beautify the neighborhood for the Charles House communities for the elderly. The team then attended a decision-making seminar held after the fall semester finals.

Cunningham also sent White the pictures of the spray paint damage.

“While I may not understand the charges assessed, we take complete responsibility for our students and our programs,” Cunningham wrote to White.

To close his letter, Cunningham included a photo of spray paint damage to UNC’s South Building on campus – four pillars were tagged with the letters D-U-K-E on Feb. 19, 2014, before the Duke-UNC basketball game.

“The University of North Carolina bore the cost of sandblasting these pillars and did not make public comments of the transgression. I acknowledge we have no idea who did this, but I simply included it to demonstrate that all fans, teams, coaches, students, etc. need to appreciate and respect the rivalry.”

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