Topeka State higher education officials may be ready to implement a regular schedule of auditing state universities — including athletic departments — after the recent audit of Kansas State University revealed several questionable financial transactions.
At a meeting in Topeka today, the nine-member board will discuss requiring the state’s four-year universities — Kansas University, Kansas State, Wichita State, Pittsburg State, Emporia State and Fort Hays State — to undergo regular audits of their athletic departments, something that was never done in the past.
One regent, Topeka attorney Dan Lykins, said he senses support for the idea.
“I’m only one vote. But I think there’s a very good possibility that it will happen,” Lykins said Wednesday. “The way I look at it, it’s not because of K-State, but because of good business management that we need to do that.”
The regents had ordered audits of Kansas State, Kansas University and Pittsburg State University because the chief executives of those institutions were leaving. The exit analyses were meant to help the incoming administrations.
But the KSU audit revealed conflicts of interest, undocumented expenditures and possible tax code violations. The regents initially wanted to keep the report secret but released it after an open records complaint was filed by the Manhattan Mercury with the Kansas attorney general’s office.
The KU and PSU audits have not been completed yet, officials have said.
In other business, Regent Chairwoman Donna Shank said this year has been the most challenging during her seven years on the board. The regents are scheduled to elect a new chair today.
During this year, higher education has sustained budget cuts and high-level turnover at KU, Kansas State and PSU.
Even so, Shank said, “The great news is we still have an excellent higher education system.”
The regents also distributed federal stimulus funds to the schools, and funds from a tax credit program that was designed to help pay for a massive backlog of repair and renovation projects.
Several regents said the tax credit plan wasn’t working too well. The six regents universities received $862,220 from the program with most of that funding going to a project at Fort Hays State University.
The state is looking at a maintenance backlog estimated at $825 million.
The Associated Press contributed information to this report.