TU says it's cooperating with the NCAA on Parmley investigation
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
11/28/12 at 6:38 PM
A day after suspending athletic director Ross Parmley due to allegations he was involved with an Oklahoma City gambling figure, the University of Tulsa confirmed Wednesday it was cooperating with the NCAA on the case.
On Tuesday, Parmley was placed on paid administrative leave after a court affidavit – unsealed last week in Oklahoma City – called TU's athletic director an "admitted gambler."
A source told The Oklahoman that while being interviewed by the FBI in 2011, Parmley indicated he had informed TU officials of his cooperation with an investigation of Oklahoma City gambling figure Teddy Mitchell.
Neither TU President Steadman Upham nor acting athletic director Kevan Buck was available to elaborate on what the university knew about Parmley’s gambling activity before Tuesday – or the extent to which the university might have been informed about the gambling before his January promotion to the athletic director’s position.
In a statement, TU said, "As this is an ongoing investigation, the University of Tulsa will not be offering any comment regarding any issues associated with this matter, other than we are fully cooperating with the NCAA.”
Placed on leave only a few hours after having attended Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett’s “True Blue TU Week” news conference Tuesday, the 39-year-old Parmley has not responded to interview requests.
A TU source said Wednesday that Parmley has not resigned from his job.
The Oklahoman’s source said Parmley admitted to using an Internet gambling site during an unspecified number of years. In 2005 and 2006, Parmley was a member of the TU football program’s support staff. After that, he occupied various positions within the university’s athletic administration. Reportedly, he stopped gambling in 2010.
An NCAA rule prohibits student-athletes and athletic department staff members from “wagering on intercollegiate, amateur and professional sports in which the Association conducts championships.”
Multiple sources say the NCAA would consider football gambling by an athletic department administrator to be a serious infraction.
An athletic department official at a different university said, “We know we’re not supposed to (gamble). The NCAA has a fairly significant program intended to remind student-athletes and administrators about the evils of gambling – including something as seemingly innocent as an office pool on March Madness.”
Another source familiar with NCAA rules and enforcement said if TU promoted Parmley while having had knowledge of his gambling activity, “it could be problematic for them.”
“That becomes an institutional-control issue,” the source said.
A lack of institutional control is one of the NCAA's gravest charges. According to the association's website, a lack of institutional control is found when major violations occur and the institution failed to display adequate compliance measures, appropriate education on those compliance measures, sufficient monitoring to ensure the compliance measures are followed and swift action upon learning of a violation.
The NCAA also refused to comment directly on Parmley's situation. In a statement, the NCAA said, "The NCAA opposes all forms of legal and illegal sports wagering because it... can undermine the integrity of college sports.”
While the Golden Hurricane football team prepares for Saturday’s Conference USA championship meeting with Central Florida at H.A. Chapman Stadium, the Parmley issue has been reported by national media outlets.
In the affidavit that was unsealed last week, Oklahoma City-based FBI Special Agent Francis Bowles Jr. alleged that Parmley had placed bets with Mitchell. According to the affidavit, Mitchell’s November-December 2009 bank records reflect that Parmley issued Mitchell a check for $1,782.
The FBI has been investigating Mitchell for eight years, according to The Oklahoman. A federal grand jury indicted Mitchell, his sons Dryden Mitchell and Nick Mitchell, six other men and a Costa Rican company in September, records show.
Mitchell, 58, is accused of making millions of dollars by hosting illegal high-stakes poker games at his home and by illegally taking bets on sporting events. He has pleaded not guilty.
It is not known whether TU informed the NCAA of Parmley’s gambling, or if the NCAA took notice only after Tuesday's published reports.
Bubba Cunningham was TU’s athletic director until October 2011, when he departed for the same job at the University of North Carolina. It is not known whether Cunningham, before he left TU, was aware of Parmley’s gambling. In a text message Wednesday, a UNC spokesman said Cunningham “absolutely will not comment” on the Parmley matter.
After Cunningham left for North Carolina, Parmley became TU’s interim athletic director. Three months later, he became the full-time athletic director.
Ross Parmley, left, shakes hands after he is named as the University of Tulsa’s Director of Athletics by University President Steadman Upham on Jan. 19, 2012. TOM GILBERT/Tulsa World