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TU president fires athletic director for NCAA violations

University of Tulsa Athletic Director Ross Parmley

University of Tulsa Athletic Director Ross Parmley

TULSA, Okla. – Tulsa University President Steadman Upham fired TU Athletic Director Ross Parmley Tuesday. 

Parmley was already on administrative leave for possible NCAA violations, possibly involving gambling.

Tuesday President Upham sent out this statement:

Today, I terminated the employment of TU Athletic Director Ross Parmley. His departure from the university is effective immediately.

I am saddened to make this announcement for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I considered Ross a true professional in intercollegiate athletics.

In October of 2011, Ross shared with me that he was cooperating in an FBI investigation pertaining to a gambling case in Oklahoma City. At that time, Ross told me that his involvement was solely due to a family connection to the person being investigated. For obvious reasons, I specifically asked Ross if he had ever gambled on college or professional sports. He told me that friendly wagers during personal golf games constituted the extent of his betting activities. I took Ross at his word, as I had no reason to believe there had been any acts of impropriety or non-compliance.

At that time he was still interim athletic director at The University of Tulsa. Approximately three months later, in January of 2012, based on a record of exemplary service of more than six years, Ross was promoted to the position of Athletic Director.

Ross Parmley is keenly aware of NCAA regulations regarding compliance issues. Since being hired by TU in 2005, Ross has annually signed an official document certifying that he had no knowledge of  any NCAA violations involving The University of Tulsa.

On Tuesday, November 27, while I was out of the country, Ross admitted he had not been truthful in our 2011 conversation. He was immediately put on administrative leave and, at my direction, TU notified the NCAA. We subsequently launched our own internal investigation.

TU is cooperating fully with officials from the NCAA to comprehensively investigate this matter and bring it to a fair and proper conclusion. This a difficult time for TU and we realize that our reputation is at stake. We are determined to uncover the whole truth in every aspect of this case.

Peggy and I are currently in South America on a multi-country trip that had been planned long before my return to the Presidency in October. We are scheduled to return at the end of the month. In the interim, I will remain in close communication with senior university administrators, the members of the TU Board of Trustees and officials from the NCAA in regard to this matter.

The greatest professional privilege I have ever been given has been to serve as President of The University of Tulsa. I will continue to strive toward ever-greater moments for the students, faculty, staff and alumni of this exceptional institution of higher education. Thank you for your continued commitment to our future.

Sincerely,
Steadman Upham
President