The University of Tennessee at Knoxville has fired the director of its Office of Student Judicial Affairs amid an inquiry into whether she had improper relationships with athletes, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. Jenny Wright, who had worked in the office since 2008, tried to step down from her post last week. But the university refused to accept her resignation, and the campus’s provost, Susan D. Martin, sent Ms. Wright a letter on Monday stating that she was being terminated for failing to comply with the investigation. Ms. Wright’s lawyer denied that his client had done anything improper.
The business of college sports.
One in five male college golfers reports betting on sports at least once a month, more than double the rate of such gambling reported by male athletes who compete in other sports, according to the results of a 2012 study of athletes’ gambling behaviors released on Tuesday by the NCAA.
The 20.2 percent of male golfers who admitted to betting on sports at least once a month is up from the 14.2 percent who admitted doing so in a 2004 NCAA study.
The rise in betting on sports among male golfers has come despite an overall drop in the percentage of male athletes who admitted to gambling for money, according to the NCAA. Fifty-seven percent of male athletes admitted to gambling for money in the past year, the study found, down from 66 percent in 2008.
The share of female athletes who admitted to gambling for money in the past 12 months remained unchanged between the NCAA’s 2008 and 2012 studies, at 39 percent.
Oklahoma State University has dropped a court fight to recover $33-million in premium payments to an insurance company under a program to raise money by taking out life-insurance policies on wealthy alumni, according to the Tulsa World.
The university sued the company in 2010, accusing it of misrepresenting the deal, known as the “Gift of a Lifetime” program. But a federal judge rejected the university’s bid to recover the money, and that ruling was later upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. A state judge later made a similar ruling.
The university’s decision to abandon the fight means that the fund-raising arm of its athletics department will suffer a net loss of roughly $22-million, the World reported. However, an Oklahoma State spokesman told the newspaper that T. Boone Pickens, an oil tycoon and prominent university benefactor, had covered the premiums for the program. It was Mr. Pickens’s decision to allow the university to take out a $10-million policy on his life that prompted more than two dozen other Cowboy boosters to follow.
Quinnipiac University has agreed to expand athletic opportunities for women and keep its women’s volleyball team as part of a proposed settlement that would end a long-running court battle over the Connecticut university’s compliance with a key federal gender-equity law, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Five members of Quinnipiac’s women’s volleyball team and their coach sued the university in 2009 over a plan to cut the team. Quinnipiac then lost a string of court decisions in the case, as a federal judge in Connecticut ruled that the university could not count the members of a competitive-cheerleading squad for the purpose of complying with Title IX.
A federal appeals court upheld that ruling last summer. And last month the judge rejected Quinnipiac’s attempt to lift his injunction that had prevented it from cutting the volleyball team, after he found that the university was still not in compliance with the law.
The proposed agreement, which was announced on Friday and is subject to court approval, would provide more scholarships and opportunities for Quinnipiac’s female athletes. Quinnipiac also agreed to spend at least $5-million to upgrade facilities used by its varsity women’s teams, including their locker rooms.
In a statement cited by The Hartford Courant, Lynn Bushnell, a Quinnipiac spokeswoman, said the university was “pleased that this legal process has been settled and that the university can now better use its resources to invest in our student athletes and our sports and recreation programs.” She added that the agreement “allows the university to move ahead with our longstanding plans to upgrade our athletic facilities and programs on the Mount Carmel campus, plans that were put on hold during the past four years during this litigation.”
Eastern Connecticut State University has suspended its longtime baseball coach for the rest of the season after an internal investigation affirmed four charges of misconduct against him, according to the Hartford Courant. The coach, Bill Holowaty, will be paid during his suspension but has been banned from the campus.
In a letter to Mr. Holowaty that was obtained by the newspaper, the university said its investigation had substantiated four charges against him, which included accusations that he failed to follow directives from his supervisors in a timely manner, and another allegation that he threw a helmet into the bleachers during a game.
The university said a fifth charge, involving complaints of cursing and abusive language, is still being investigated. “An undisclosed number of parents and students have come forward to articulate a pattern of alleged abuses over a series of incidents, the breadth of which can’t be investigated without a committed and substantial effort on the part of the administration,” the letter stated. Mr. Holowaty was suspended while that inquiry takes place over the next three weeks.
Mr. Holowaty has won four Division III national championships during his 45-year tenure as the Warriors’ head coach, but has a history of controversial behavior, according to the newspaper. Eastern Connecticut State’s president, Elsa M. Núñez, told the Courant that the reported helmet-throwing incident was “unacceptable” and said the inquiry may go on past the coach’s suspension period. The coach declined to comment to the newspaper.
Rutgers University on Friday announced that it had suspended Brian Brecht, its head men’s lacrosse coach, while its police department investigates allegations of verbal abuse.
The coach’s suspension comes weeks after Rutgers fired its head men’s basketball coach over his abusive behavior toward players during practices. The fallout from the basketball scandal prompted the university’s athletic director and a top lawyer to resign. The university’s president, Robert L. Barchi, said after the basketball coach’s firing that he had asked athletic-department officials to review practice tapes of the university’s sports teams, and to report back to him about any abuse.
“While I cannot comment on an ongoing investigation, let me reiterate that there is no place at Rutgers for words or actions that are inconsistent with the values of the university,” Dr. Barchi said in a written statement. “Our student athletes, as all members of the Rutgers community, should know that our university is committed to promoting an atmosphere of respect and dignity. As I stressed earlier, we will be looking closely at all intercollegiate athletics at Rutgers going forward. If we find problems, we will address them.”
Mr. Brecht was named coach of the lacrosse team in 2011. He will be paid during his suspension, the university said.
Western Oklahoma State College, the small, rural institution that drew national attention last fall for its 10-day accelerated courses that enabled thousands of college athletes to remain eligible to compete, was put on probation on Thursday by its regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
According to The Oklahoman, the accreditor found the quick-credit courses did not meet standards for quality and rigor, and the college is now forbidden to offer them.
Students currently enrolled in the courses must be permitted to complete them in eight- or 16-week formats, the newspaper reported, citing a notice released by the commission. The college must also conduct a self-study stemming from the commission’s concerns, submit to a site visit from an accrediting team, and undergo an examination of all of its courses by the commission.
The college’s accelerated courses came under fire after The Chronicle published an investigation in November describing how thousands of college athletes had used the 10-day classes to help maintain their eligibility to play NCAA sports.
Western Oklahoma initially defended the quality and rigor of the 10-day courses, but in January, after the courses drew the scrutiny of the regional accreditor and of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, the college discontinued them.
John B. Wolf, Rutgers University’s former interim senior vice president and general counsel, resigned on Thursday, making him the latest addition to a list of campus officials who have lost their jobs in the wake of the university’s recent basketball scandal, The Star-Ledger reported.
The university’s president announced last week that Mr. Wolf and Tim Pernetti, the university’s athletic director, had resigned. But it later came to light that Mr. Wolf had stepped down only from his vice-president position and was given a new job as a university lawyer, according to the newspaper.
That move prompted complaints from many who took issue with Mr. Wolf’s staying on, in light of his decision to advise the university to suspend rather than fire Mike Rice, its head men’s basketball coach. The university dismissed Mr. Rice last week after a video of him shoving his players and shouting slurs at them went public.
“While I regret the circumstances surrounding my departure from Rutgers, I always will have very fond memories of the challenges and achievements that I have been a part of and the many colleagues and friends, both inside and outside the university, with whom I have worked at Rutgers since 1984,” Mr. Wolf said in a written statement. “I wish Rutgers well.”
Rutgers University’s athletic director stepped down on Friday, two days after the university fired its head men’s basketball coach amid a scandal that erupted when a video of the coach abusing his players during practice went public. The video prompted widespread outrage and calls for both men to be dismissed.
The athletic director, Tim Pernetti, said in a written statement that he had quit his post “reluctantly,” but called his tenure “no longer sustainable” in the face of the growing controversy. The university on Wednesday fired the coach, Mike Rice, after a video of him shoving his players, hurling balls at them, and shouting antigay slurs went viral online.
Mr. Rice’s use of gay insults touched a nerve at Rutgers and cast a spotlight on Robert L. Barchi, the university’s president. The coach had previously been suspended for three games and fined for his conduct, but Mr. Barchi said on Wednesday that after he viewed the video, it was clear Mr. Rice could not continue to serve as the head coach.
In his statement on Friday, Mr. Pernetti said his first instinct upon seeing the video was to fire Mr. Rice immediately, but following the review of an independent report, “the consensus was that university policy would not justify dismissal.”
Mr. Pernetti said he had admitted his role in, and regret for, the previous decision only to suspend Mr. Rice, asserting that he wished he could have had “the opportunity to go back and override it for the sake of everyone involved.” He added that he trusted his tenure as athletic director would not be “judged by this one incident.”
Mr. Barchi called the incident a “failure of process” in his remarks at a news conference on Friday. He also apologized to the athletes who had been harmed, as well as the university’s gay community, for the coach’s behavior, which he said the video showed him was “much more abusive and pervasive than I had understood it to be.”
He called Mr. Pernetti’s decision to try to rehabilitate the coach a wrong one, and said that while he applauded the athletic director for his “frank” assessment of the matter, “it is clear to me and to everyone who has seen the video just how egregious the offenses were and how out of keeping with the Rutgers community’s values they were.”
Rutgers University fired Mike Rice, its head men’s basketball coach, on Wednesday, the day after a video broadcast by ESPN showed the coach shoving his players, throwing balls at them, and screaming obscenities during practice. The video prompted widespread calls for Mr. Rice and Tim Pernetti, athletic director at the university, to be dismissed. It also drew a rebuke from New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie.
Mr. Pernetti suspended Mr. Rice for three games last year and fined him $50,000 for what was described at the time as the coach’s “inappropriate behavior and language.”
Rutgers said in a written statement on Wednesday that it had terminated Mr. Rice’s contract “based upon recently revealed information and a review of previously discovered issues.” The coach had two years remaining in a five-year deal.
Mr. Pernetti said that he had been responsible for what he called the decision to “attempt a rehabilitation” of the coach. “Dismissal and corrective action were debated in December, and I thought it was in the best interest of everyone to rehabilitate, but I was wrong,” he added. “Moving forward, I will work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community.”
For more, see this Chronicle article.