© Copyright 2012, The Oklahoman
The University of Tulsa's athletic director was suspended with pay Tuesday after the FBI identified him as an “admitted gambler” who was involved with Oklahoma City “bookie” Teddy Mitchell.
Ross M. Parmley, 39, was named athletic director Jan. 19. He has worked for the university's athletics department since 2005.
Parmley has not been charged. The university placed Parmley on paid administrative leave hours after The Oklahoman contacted his attorney for comment.
Mitchell, 58, is awaiting trial on a federal indictment that accuses him of operating an illegal gambling enterprise.
Parmley admitted to FBI agents he bet on college and professional football games for years before quitting gambling early in 2010, a source told The Oklahoman. He told the agents he used the Internet to make the bets.
He also told FBI agents that he made payments to Mitchell on losses and collected from Mitchell on wins, the source said.
He told agents in the 2011 interview that he had informed TU officials he was cooperating with the investigation, the source said.
Parmley was never a target or subject of the gambling investigation but is cooperating with federal authorities, his attorney, Derek Chance, said Tuesday.
Parmley does not know yet if prosecutors will ask him to testify as a witness at Mitchell's trial, the attorney also said. “That's, of course, up to the U.S. attorney's office,” the attorney said.
Chance said Parmley did not testify before the grand jury that indicted Mitchell in September.
Parmley was described in an 84-page court affidavit unsealed last week as an “admitted gambler with Mitchell.”
FBI Special Agent Francis J. Bowles Jr. reported in the affidavit that Mitchell deposited a $1,782 check from Parmley in a bank account between Nov. 7, 2009, and Dec. 10, 2009. The agent reported Parmley identified the check as a gambling payment.
Mitchell contends he is a professional gambler who acted legally and paid taxes on his gambling income.
He is accused in the indictment of making millions of dollars by hosting illegal high-stakes poker games at his home and by illegally taking bets on sporting events.
The grand jury also indicted two of Mitchell's sons, six other men and a Costa Rican company. The trial is set to begin in April in federal court in Oklahoma City.
Mitchell's defense attorney, Scott Adams, confirmed Tuesday that Parmley was a client of Mitchell.
Adams told The Oklahoman on Sunday that Mitchell “on the bookmaking aspect of it ... was just simply telling people to go on a particular website over in Costa Rica that in our opinion was legal.”
Adams said Tuesday, “It was all legal. Every bit of it was all legal.”
Oklahoma City Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Troester said prosecutors would have no comment beyond what is stated in legal filings at this stage in the proceedings.
TU President Steadman Upham announced Parmley's suspension about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday.
“TU Athletic Director Ross Parmley has been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation into allegations of gambling,” Upham said in a brief statement. “In the interim, Executive Vice President Kevan Buck will be acting athletic director.”
The NCAA opposes all forms of legal and illegal wagering on college sports. The NCAA claims sports wagering “threatens ... the integrity of the game.”
The NCAA said its rules prohibit athletics department employees “from wagering on intercollegiate, amateur and professional sports in which the association conducts championships.”
The suspension comes as TU prepares to host the Conference USA football championship game Saturday.
Parmley was athletic director for the Norman Public Schools before coming to work at TU in 2005 — at first as the director of football operations.
His other positions at the university included a few years as the associate athletic director for operations and administration. He was the interim athletic director for three months before his promotion in January.
He is a native of Lawton, according to the university's website.