TU suspends athletic director after gambling allegation surfaces
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
11/28/12 at 9:41 AM
See the affidavit: Read an FBI agent’s affidavit regarding an alleged Oklahoma City-area gambling ring, including an allegation that TU athletic director Ross Parmley was involved.
Ten months after becoming the University of Tulsa's athletic director, Ross Parmley was placed on paid administrative leave Tuesday after having been described by the FBI as an "admitted gambler."
The 39-year-old Parmley was involved with an Oklahoma City gambling figure identified as Teddy Mitchell, according to an FBI agent's affidavit that was filed under seal in Oklahoma City federal court in April and unsealed last week.
As TU prepares to host Saturday's Conference USA football championship game at H.A. Chapman Stadium, university President Steadman Upham said Executive Vice President Kevan Buck is serving as the acting athletic director.
In a statement released by the university, Upham said, "TU athletic director Ross Parmley has been placed on paid administrative leave pending further investigation into allegations of gambling."
Using information obtained from an unidentified source, The Oklahoman reported that Parmley admitted to FBI agents in 2011 that he placed bets on college and NFL games for years before he stopped gambling in 2010. The source said Parmley told agents in 2011 that he had informed TU officials that he was cooperating with the investigation. Parmley was named TU's full-time athletic director on Jan. 19, 2012.
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.
In November-December 2009, Parmley was TU's associate athletic director for administration and operations.
In the affidavit, Parmley and others are characterized as "admitted gamblers," and the document says Mitchell's records reflect that the money was for gambling payments.
The Oklahoman's story was published online only a few hours after Parmley and Golden Hurricane football coach Bill Blankenship attended Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett's "True Blue TU Week" news conference.
Parmley's attorney, Derek Chance, told The Oklahoman that Parmley does not want to comment on the gambling matter. Parmley responded to a text message from the Tulsa World, but only to indicate that he would not make a statement.
Allegations of sports gambling undoubtedly will attract the attention of the NCAA, but TU did not indicate whether it has communicated with the NCAA regarding the situation.
According to the NCAA's website, "The NCAA opposes all forms of legal and illegal sports wagering on college sports." NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes, along with employees of university athletic departments, "from wagering on intercollegiate, amateur and professional sports in which the Association conducts championships."
Parmley was mentioned only once in Bowles' 84-page affidavit regarding his investigation of Mitchell, whom the FBI agent alleges had been running an illegal gambling business since 1990.
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.
A Lawton native, Parmley received his master's degree from the University of Oklahoma. After serving as the Norman Public Schools athletic director, he became TU's director of football operations in 2005. In 2006, he became the assistant athletic director for football operations.
After Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham departed for North Carolina in October 2011, Parmley became Tulsa's interim athletic director.
Parmley's suspension comes 11 weeks after TU fired President Geoffrey Orsak, who had been in the top position at the university for only 74 days. Buck was TU's acting president until Upham, who had retired in June, agreed to return to the university.
As athletic director, Parmley's most prominent act was the March firing of Golden Hurricane men's basketball coach Doug Wojcik and the hiring of his replacement, Danny Manning, less than three weeks later.
Education: Business administration degree from Cameron University, master's degree in sports management from the University of Oklahoma
Professional: Norman Public Schools athletic director (2001-05); University of Tulsa director of football operations (2005); TU assistant athletic director for football operations (2006); TU associate athletic director for administration and operations (2007-11); TU interim athletic director (2011); TU athletic director (2012).
The Teddy Mitchell case
A federal grand jury in September indicted Teddy Mitchell, sons Dryden Mitchell and Nick Mitchell, six other men and a Costa Rican company.
Teddy 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.
More on Mitchell
Oklahoma City resident Teddy Mitchell was indicted in September after an eight-year FBI investigation. Here's a look at his case:
A federal grand jury in September indicted Teddy Mitchell, sons Dryden Mitchell and Nick Mitchell, six other men and a Costa Rican company. 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.
Mitchell is on home detention while awaiting trial, which is set to begin April 9 in Oklahoma City.
Mitchell's lawyer told The Oklahoman on Sunday that Mitchell, "felt that all that he was doing was all legal. That's our position."
Mitchell's wife, Julie, 34, was killed at their home Nov. 2, 2010, while Mitchell was traveling out of state. Police have not arrested anyone in her death.
The affidavit claims Mitchell had been running an illegal gambling business since at least 1990.
In the affidavit, Mitchell is said to have deposited a check for $1,782 from Ross Parmley, at that time a University of Tulsa associate athletics director, into a Bank of America account between Nov. 7, 2009 and Dec. 10, 2009. The affidavit calls Parmley and five other men "admitted gamblers" and says Mitchell's records indicate the check was a gambling payment.
The NCAA on gambling
Here is a look at the NCAA bylaws on sports gambling:
The following individuals shall not knowingly participate in sports wagering activities or provide information to individuals involved in or associated with any type of sports wagering activities concerning intercollegiate, amateur or professional athletics competition:
- 10.3 Sports Wagering Activities
(a) Staff members of an institution's athletics department;
(b) Nonathletics department staff members who have responsibilities within or over the athletics department
(e.g., chancellor or president, faculty athletics representative, individual to whom athletics reports);
(c) Staff members of a conference office; and
Institutional staff members found in violation of the provisions of this regulation shall be subject to disciplinary or corrective action as set forth in Bylaw 126.96.36.199 of the NCAA enforcement procedures, whether such violations occurred at the certifying institution or during the individual's previous employment at another member institution.
Discipline under this subsection can range from public reprimand, to loss of scholarships in a sport, to financial penalties to a postseason ban.
Original Print Headline: TU suspends athletic director
Bill Haisten 918-581-8397
Ross Parmley: TU's athletic director is on paid leave after it was alleged he'd placed bets on college and pro football games