TULSA — Gambling-related allegations against the University of Tulsa's athletic director have drawn the attention of the NCAA, which has taken a hard stand against wagering it says could undermine the integrity of the sports it governs.
Officials at the private university said Wednesday they notified the NCAA immediately after learning on Tuesday that Director of Athletics Ross Parmley was linked to the criminal gambling case against Teddy Mitchell of Oklahoma City, said University of Tulsa spokeswoman Kayla Acebo.
"We understand the serious nature of this, and that's why we are investigating this, and we are certainly going to work very cooperatively and closely with the NCAA on this," Acebo told The Associated Press.
She declined to elaborate on the nature of the investigation.
NCAA officials also said they cannot comment on current or potential investigations, but said in a statement that they oppose all forms of "legal and illegal sports wagering because it threatens the wellbeing of student-athletes and can undermine the integrity of college sports.
"NCAA rules do not allow student-athletes, athletics staff members, university staff with athletics department responsibilities or conference office staff to engage in sports wagering on any level — college, professional or otherwise — in which the NCAA holds a championship," the statement said.
In a recently unsealed FBI affidavit that accuses Mitchell of running an illegal gambling operation, Parmley is described as an "admitted gambler" who wrote a $1,782 check to Mitchell in late 2009. Parmley, who is not charged in the case, was hired as Tulsa's AD in January after serving as the school's associate athletic director for operations and administration since 2007.
Parmley, 39, was placed on paid leave Tuesday, said University President Steadman Upham in a brief statement.
Any investigation into Parmley's activities almost certainly will focus on whether he placed bets on University of Tulsa athletic events and whether any student-athletes may have been involved, said attorney Don Jackson, who teaches a sports law class at Samford University's Cumberland School of Law and who has represented numerous student-athletes and coaches in cases involving NCAA investigations.