Tuesday Thayer Evans of FOXSports.com reported that University of Kansas Athletic Director Lew Perkins resigned from his post effective immediately. The school later confirmed Evans’ report, framing Perkins’ ouster as a “retirement.”
In the past year, Kansas school officials have uncovered astounding corruption in Perkins’ KU athletic department regarding the misuse of game tickets. (The FBI is still investigating.) Perkins was not implicated by the school itself in that scandal, which reportedly cost the school up to $3 million in lost ticket revenue, but Perkins was still facing an ethics investigation into his own handling of state funds.
The Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission is scheduled to meet on Sept. 21 to explore conflict-of-interest issues pertaining to state employees. The commission was expected to soon examine the issue of Perkins accepting a “personal loan” of $15,000 in exercise equipment from a Kansas Athletics vendor - who has confirmed the transaction - in exchange for better seats to Kansas basketball games.
Kansas law states that “no person subject to the provisions of this section shall solicit or accept any gift, economic opportunity, loan, gratuity, special discount or service provided because of such person’s official position.”
Violation of the law is grounds for dismissal and a $5,000 fine.
With the commission’s next meeting just two weeks away, perhaps today’s “retirement” announcement was related to the prospect of more Perkins-related bad publicity for the school.
While a source didn’t confirm that connection, I was given some additional insight into the impetus of the effective dismissal of Perkins.
I was told today by a former Univ. of Kansas athletic dept. staffer that much of the departure of Perkins had to do with the school’s unwillingness to allow him to assist in the hiring of the school’s next athletic director.
I’m told Perkins was already promoting one of his KU athletic dept. cronies for his former post, but that university officials were extremely uncomfortable in having the scandal-addled Perkins associated with the future hire.
Thus, Perkins was pushed out to prevent any input whatsoever on the future of the Kansas athletic department.