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Archive for Wednesday, July 1, 2009

In wake of audit, KSU reconsiders improvements to athletic facilities

July 1, 2009

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— Faced with a struggling economy and a scathing athletic department financial audit, Kansas State University is re-evaluating a planned $70 million upgrade of athletic facilities.

New athletic director John Currie told university faculty and students during a Monday forum that the projects have not been eliminated but are on hold pending the review.

The projects, championed by former vice president and athletic director Bob Krause, include a basketball practice facility, an expanded ticket office, a Kansas State hall of fame and renovations for the west side of the football stadium.

“Currently, those projects are on hold,” Currie said. “There are some of those projects we’ll re-evaluate, and we’re in the process of doing that now.”

The re-evaluation comes after an audit released June 19 that detailed questionable financial practices at the university, including 13 undocumented payments totaling $845,000 to football coach Bill Snyder, Krause and former athletic director Tim Weiser.

The controversy prompted the Kansas Board of Regents to require state universities to conduct regular audits that include their athletic departments. Before the release of the audit, the school was already reeling from the discovery of a $3.2 million deferred payment agreement which Krause had signed with former football coach Ron Prince.

Originally, the university planned to finance the new projects with $35 million in private funds and $35 million in debt financing. Currie said the project may eventually rely more on fundraising because he is cautious about using debt financing for projects that don’t provide extra revenue.

Currie and new President Kirk Schulz held Monday’s forum in response to the recent controversy.

Schulz said new rules are in place to prevent the conflicts of interest found in the audit. He specifically mentioned that the university won’t extend another $500,000 loan like one given to Weiser.

“We will never do another personal, individual loan again,” Schulz said. “That’s bad practice.”

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