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The Daily Tar Heel

Pruitt: Congress Bill Restricting CAA `Hideous'

New accusations and the threat of student congressional oversight of Carolina Athletic Association Cabinet appointments have angered CAA members and prompted vehement denials of impropriety.

"We don't have anything to hide," said CAA President Tee Pruitt on Wednesday.

"But it's ridiculously hideous for (Congress) to think they can do that," he said, referring to a bill passed Tuesday by Congress' Rules and Judiciary Committee that would make the CAA's procedures subject to Congress' approval. "The necessary check is through the spring election cycle."

Congress members drew up the legislation in response to recent concerns about CAA's possible misconduct.

Full Congress will vote on the bill next Tuesday, along with two resolutions to censure Pruitt and other top CAA officials.

CAA External Relations Director Rachel Goodman also said she is displeased with the turn of events. "It's personally upsetting to me because I know so many people on CAA have worked for the student body, and those rumors and lies are just a horrible compensation," she said. "I can see why student government would respond, but there's nothing we're covering up, so there's nothing for them to find."

CAA Chief of Staff Greg Rocco said criticism of the organization is unfair. "Everyone has already made up their minds that we're crooks," he said.

But Board of Elections Vice Chairman Fred Hill said he is sticking by assertions he made before Congress' Student Affairs Committee on Tuesday night that the CAA president receives 40 to 60 purely discretionary tickets to each basketball game and that ticket distributions for regular season basketball games and the ACC championship were conducted improperly.

The Daily Tar Heel has been unable to confirm or deny Hill's claims with the ticket office.

In testimony before the committee and in a letter to the DTH on Wednesday, Hill said it was his personal belief that every ticket distribution for the past two years has been rigged. Hill further testified that two friends in the CAA told him that bracelets distributed at 3 p.m. on Wednesdays would be at the front of the line for riser tickets.

But CAA Cabinet members deny any abuses. "That is the most inane thing I've ever heard," said Kerry Slatkoff, director of CAA ticket distribution. "No one knows those numbers except myself, (ticket office Director) Clint (Gwaltney) and (ticket office employee) Shane (Parrish), and we don't pick them until Saturday."

Slatkoff said Gwaltney and Parrish are both present for the selection of regular seat and riser seat numbers, which she said is done using a random number generator in Microsoft Excel.

Cabinet members also deny any secret stash of disposable tickets. Pruitt said he receives around 26 tickets per game, from section 117 and the back of the Carolina Fever block. Roughly 14 are given to members of the sports marketing committee and nine to the External Relations Committee. The remaining two or three tickets Pruitt gives to whoever wants them, he said.

The DTH has been unable to confirm or deny Pruitt's claims with the ticket office.

Slatkoff said dozens of such extra tickets are impossible. After two tickets are given to each of the 25 ticket distribution workers and another 50 are distributed among the roughly 25 Cabinet members, there simply aren't enough left, she said.

Although they could offer no evidence of impropriety, some former Cabinet members say Pruitt and other officials might be hiding something. "It sounds very feasible -- I wouldn't put anything past Tee," said Tiffany Black, a former CAA Cabinet member. Pruitt fired Black on Feb. 28 for allowing campaign duties to interfere with her organizational responsibilities.

Pruitt said the Cabinet has not yet discussed whether to attend Congress' Tuesday meeting. "Obviously, there are things that are much more important than perpetuating the rumor mill."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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