UTM stands behind Campbell decision
Posted: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 3:22 pm
University of Tennessee at Martin officials — in a release sent late this morning — said they stand behind a decision to accept the resignation of head men’s basketball coach Bret Campbell.
Campbell’s resignation came Friday following the June 3 release of a University of Tennessee internal audit report outlining Campbell’s violation of numerous university policies related to basketball camps operated by the university.
The report also cited a contract between Campbell and Anaconda Sports that did not have university approval.
“University funds diverted from university accounts is a problem,” UT Martin Chancellor Dr. Tom Rakes was quoted as saying in the university-produced release. “The audit report speaks for itself, and if Coach Campbell had chosen not to resign, the university would have had no choice but to end his employment.”
According to the release, Campbell was told late in 2008 by UTM Athletics Director Phil Dane about the serious implications of his (Campbell’s) actions and the related audit.
The UT report stated the audit was triggered by a review at a local high school showing “that a client’s check made payable to UTM for a summer basketball camp had been cashed by Mr. Bret Campbell, head basketball coach at UTM.”
The audit went on to report that Campbell cashed and/or deposited 71 camp-related checks made out to the university totaling $21,145 into a personal account over a period from 2006-08, a violation of university policy and procedures.
Campbell, who has said he was told if he didn’t resign that he would be fired, acknowledged violating system protocol. He insists, though, he paid camp officials and other expenses such as meals and T-shirts from the account.
He agreed to repay the university around $3,000, more than half of that covering payroll taxes for funds not reported to the school.
There have been no charges of fraud or embezzlement and no NCAA rules were violated, nor are there known sanctions forthcoming.
“Coach Campbell deposited university funds into his bank account and he did so knowing that he was breaking numerous policies,” said Dane in the memo. “He claims these were not university funds, that they were camp funds. The checks were made payable to the University of Tennessee at Martin. They belonged in a university account.”
Dane added that the university sets policies and procedures for managing resources, “and it’s our responsibility as stewards of those resources to follow those policies until they are changed.”
“When people break those policies without approval, they are taking the risk of being disciplined in accordance with personnel policies that address those actions,” Dane said. “Those policies are there to ensure that we don’t lose the trust of those who make our jobs possible.”
Published in The Messenger 6.10.09