Website News Story Photo Misleading
VMI has received a number of emails and calls from alumni who are angry about a recent news media story circulating on web news sites, with a picture of a 40-year old North Carolina high school track coach wearing a VMI basketball T-shirt, who married one of his students in what may have been an attempt to avoid sex offender charges. There are allegations their relationship may have begun as early as when the student was 14.
In fact, a check with VMI alumni agencies, Registrar, and Human Resources office reveals there is no record of this man ever being an employee or cadet at VMI.
As painful as it is for both VMI and our alumni who feel VMI’s reputation has been sullied by this person, we are hopeful the news value of the picture will diminish rapidly. Our experience has been that the surest way to amplify or even make this regrettable story a bigger issue to a wider audience is to inform media which carried the story that he has no known affiliation with VMI. No media have asked us to verify that this “coach” has connections to VMI.
This story is another reminder of the power of the internet, which can be used for good and bad.