Review finds K-State’s payments were not improper

? Compensation for Kansas State University football coach Bill Snyder accounted for most of $845,599 in questionable payments cited by a state audit, but the university’s president said Thursday that none of them were improper.

President Kirk Schulz told the Kansas Board of Regents, which oversees the state’s higher education system, that Snyder did nothing improper — something the coach himself has said repeatedly. Schulz later said the same is true for a former athletic director and former university vice president.

But a new report released Thursday by Schulz did criticize Kansas State’s past management. Schulz also said the university is changing some business practices to prevent future questions about its management and its dealing with groups affiliated with the university, including the athletics department.

The latest report is a response to a state audit released by the regents in June, when Schulz became president. That audit was an exit review of retiring President Jon Wefald’s tenure.

The June audit questioned 13 expenditures by the athletic department from May 2003 through June 2006. They included payments to Snyder; former Athletic Director Tim Weiser, and Bob Krause, a former vice president who’d also served as athletic director.

But Schulz said the payments seemed questionable only because the department didn’t have adequate documentation. The follow-up report, compiled by a committee Schulz appointed, included a list of the transactions, the dates, amounts and recipients.

“It was all very legitimate sorts of things. It was just not appropriately documented,” he said. “We were able to clean up a lot of those things by simply getting information.”

The list showed three payments for Snyder, two in 2003 and one in 2005, were worth $630,000, or about 75 percent of the value of all 13 payments. Schulz said the money was due to Snyder “by contract.”

Two payments, worth $74,562 were for Krause and one, in 2004, for Weiser, was worth $7,498. Other payments covered airplane flights for athletics personnel.

Wefald, Weiser, Snyder and current Athletic Director John Currie did not return telephone messages. Krause declined comment, noting that he’d not seen the latest report.

Schulz announced last month that he’d restructured the athletic department’s administration. There’s greater oversight by the board of directors of the nonprofit corporation running athletic programs, and its legal business is handled by the university’s general counsel.

The regents appeared pleased with the latest report, describing it as thorough and praising Schulz for the review.

“All that information can be laid to rest now,” said regent Dan Lykins, a Topeka attorney and a 1968 Kansas State graduate. “I see that Coach Snyder has a clean bill of health.”

Regent Gary Sherrer, a former lieutenant governor from Overland Park, said: “We didn’t have state tax dollars being misused. We didn’t have any criminal activity going on.”

The June audit also questioned a $500,000 loan from the athletics department to Weiser in January 2008, approved by Krause and paid back in July, after Weiser was no longer athletic director. The university’s follow-up report noted that new bylaws for the athletic department no longer allow such loans.

In addition, the June audit suggested there were potential conflicts of interest in the management of a business incubator affiliated with the university. While a university vice president, Krause was involved with the incubator and a company it helped create.

Schulz said the university has enacted a policy for top administrators to limit their involvement and prevent potential conflicts.

The latest report said Wefald had given Krause “far too much influence” over university-related funds.

“Jon Wefald invested too much power in Bob Krause and provide inadequate oversight and supervision of him,” the report said.