TULSA — The University of Tulsa's athletic director, Ross M. Parmley, was fired Tuesday for gambling on football games in violation of NCAA regulations.
University President Steadman Upham made the decision and announced it on the university's website about 7:30 p.m.
“TU is cooperating fully with officials from the NCAA to comprehensively investigate this matter and bring it to a fair and proper conclusion,” Upham said. “This (is) a difficult time for TU and we realize that our reputation is at stake.”
The termination comes a week after The Oklahoman disclosed Parmley, 39, had been identified by an FBI agent in a court affidavit as an admitted gambler. Parmley had held the position of athletic director since Jan. 19.
Parmley told FBI agents last year he bet on college and professional football games for years before quitting in 2010, a source told The Oklahoman. He is not facing any criminal charges.
The university president said Tuesday that Parmley revealed in October 2011 that he was cooperating in an FBI investigation. The president indicated that Parmley then denied betting on football.
The president said Parmley on Nov. 27 “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,” Upham said. “We subsequently launched our own internal investigation.”
Parmley's attorney, Derek Chance of Oklahoma City, declined to comment Tuesday night.
Chance said last week that Parmley never bet on any TU sports. The attorney also said last week Parmley intended to cooperate with the NCAA investigation.
The NCAA last week said it “opposes all forms of legal and illegal sports wagering because it threatens the well-being of student-athletes and can undermine the integrity of college sports.”
The FBI reported Parmley was identified as a gambler during an investigation of Teddy Mitchell of Oklahoma City.
A federal grand jury in September indicted Mitchell, two of his sons, six other men and a Costa Rican company. A trial is set for April in federal court in Oklahoma City.
Mitchell, 58, is accused in the federal case of operating an illegal gambling enterprise that took in millions of dollars. He is accused of both hosting illegal high-stakes poker games at his home and illegally taking bets on sporting events.
Mitchell has pleaded not guilty. His defense attorney has said he is a professional gambler who acted legally and paid taxes on his gambling income.
Parmley and five other men are described in the 84-page court affidavit as “admitted gamblers with Mitchell.”
The FBI agent reported in the affidavit that Mitchell deposited a $1,782 check from Parmley into a bank account in 2009. The agent reported the check appears in Mitchell's records as a gambling payment.
The FBI agent described Mitchell in the affidavit as a sports “bookie” who has been engaged in illegal gambling activity from at least 1990 until November 2010 when his wife was brutally beaten to death.
Parmley admitted to the FBI agents that he collected from Mitchell when he won bets and paid Mitchell when he lost, the source told The Oklahoman. He told the FBI he placed his bets on the Internet.
Parmley also claimed in the FBI interview in October 2011 that he had informed TU officials he was cooperating with the investigation, the source said.
The university president in his announcement Tuesday described at length what Parmley actually said to him about the investigation. The president said Parmley in October 2011 “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,” the president said. “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 noncompliance.
“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,” the president said.
“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,” the president said
Upham, who is on a trip in South America, said Parmley's departure was effective immediately.
Parmley was placed on paid administrative leave Nov. 27, just hours after The Oklahoman first contacted Parmley's attorney for comment about the FBI affidavit.
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.