Erskine Bowles was a couple years into his tenure as UNC's president when a real head-scratcher landed on his desk.
N.C. Central University, the historically black institution in Durham, had been improperly operating a satellite campus for for years at a church near Atlanta.
The plot thickened: The church was operated by Eddie Long, then a NCCU trustee.
The university's discovery of this satellite campus created a mess for Bowles and Charlie Nelms, then still new in his post as NCCU's chancellor.
Nelms had recently taken over for James Ammons, who had left Durham for the presidency at Florida A & M University.
The unauthorized satellite campus at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga. had been created while Ammons was chancellor.
So in interviewing Bowles recently just weeks prior to his retirement as UNC president, I asked him if he had ever gotten to the bottom of that mess.