Report: 2 Tennessee athletics staffers accepted impermissible gifts, trips
A pair of Tennessee athletic department staffers are in some hot water after the Tennessee comptroller released a report on Wednesday.
According to the report, which can be seen in its entirety here, the two staffers in question accepted impermissible trips and gifts from vendors.
The report states that golf trips, including one to the Masters, was a big part of the violation of university policy:
Investigators determined the director of sports surface management violated university policy when he accepted at least two paid trips and related entertainment from a department vendor which had previously been awarded an equipment lease worth $763,898. In 2016, the director traveled to Illinois for two days of golf, and he also participated in a golf scramble in Georgia. The vendor provided lodging, air fare (when applicable), green fees, and other privileges. This violated UT’s policy prohibiting university employees from accepting entertainment or other gifts exceeding $75 in value.
The director was also absent from work during a two-day trip to the Masters Golf Tournament in April 2016. Although the director reimbursed a prospective vendor for his event pass, he failed to record two days of leave on his university time records.
According to a statement released by the university to KnoxNews.com, the athletic department has addressed these issues with the employees in question:
“Tennessee Athletics has read the state’s report regarding incidents that took place in 2014 and 2016,” athletic department spokesman Tom Satkowiak said in a statement to USA TODAY Network – Tennessee. “The university’s internal audit team requested the investigation.
“Two staff members are referenced in the report. The director of sports surface management received a written warning and a letter of admonishment in his personnel file relating to the issues described in the investigative report. The other staff member accurately reported his monthly leave for all trips, but he has been counseled about the university’s policy on acceptance of gifts. Dating to the spring of 2017, we have been deliberate about educating our staff on the university’s gift and conflict of interest policies and the importance of avoiding even the appearance of impropriety, and continuing education is planned.”
Though this issue shouldn’t be taken lightly, it doesn’t seem as if any major punishment will befall the Vols in this case.
However, those staffers are likely on thin ice moving forward.