The scandal occurred in the spring of 2006; Gore-Mann didn't arrive on the job until August of that year. Sources close to the university say that at least partly owing to the episode, Hogan was quietly eased out as athletics director. He became athletics director at Seattle University (where USF president Stephen A. Privett Jr., then and now, serves on the board of regents) in June 2006.

Meanwhile, David Macmillan, USF's vice president for university development, to whom Hogan answered (and to whom Gore-Mann still does), professed little knowledge of the ticket episode. "That's an area of detail that I do not know much about; it occurred under someone else's watch," he says.

Yet, according to a confidential 2006 memo from Macmillan to the university's board of trustees, a copy of which was obtained by SF Weekly, Macmillan oversaw the school's initial investigation of the affair. In the memo, he acknowledged that "the NCAA promptly made it clear that this use of 'third parties' was not permissible," but insisted that USF had "recovered all unsold seats and sold them through the Public Lottery" and that no one at the university had "benefit[ed] personally."

However, a well-placed former USF insider with intimate knowledge of the NCAA's probe, who spoke on condition of anonymity, insists otherwise. Although university officials have implied that they accounted for all of the tickets Slater was allowed to purchase, the source says Slater returned only about 600 of the 1,000 tickets, and the university counted about 350 tickets that it got back from San Jose State's allotment against those given to Slater.

In the end, those familiar with the matter say, USF reached an accommodation with NCAA enforcement officers. In exchange for the university's not receiving a public reprimand, USF agreed to forgo its entire share of the ticket proceeds it would have otherwise received for hosting the tournament, and agreed to banish Slater for at least a year from involvement with the basketball program.

Asked specifically about those things, Macmillan told SF Weekly that he would have to "research the matter and get back with you." The next day, Gary McDonald, the university's vice president for public affairs, left a phone message on Macmillan's behalf: "The NCAA has not made the results of that investigation public, and that's not something we'll be talking about either."

The ticket mess wasn't the only scrape USF had with the NCAA. That summer, it was revealed that more than a dozen athletes, including several basketball players, had improperly used scholarship money to make purchases at the university bookstore. The university self-reported the violations, which it described as inadvertent, to the NCAA, blaming a computer system for failing to credit refunds to the athletics department for used books returned to the store by the athletes.

Instead, credits improperly went to the student-athletes, some of whom allowed others, including nonscholarship athletes, to use their university-supplied debit cards to buy books and supplies on the university's dime in violation of NCAA rules.

As self-punishment, USF required the athletes involved to miss one or more sporting events. For the 2006 season-opening basketball game at Fresno State, Evans' team dressed only six scholarship players.

The other fallout was that Gore-Mann, in one of her first moves as director, shoved aside popular longtime athletics department official Bill Nepfel, who had served as interim athletics director after Hogan left for Seattle. His supporters say he was unfairly blamed for the bookstore snafu. Although not accused of wrongdoing, Nepfel was assigned to "special projects" and given nothing to do in the department for nearly a year. (A similar fate befell longtime former sports information director Pete Simon.) Nepfel recently left to become director of athletics compliance at San Francisco State.

But if Gore-Mann's mission was to clean up the mess in the athletics department, her detractors remain unconvinced that she is the right person for the job. "She hasn't shown a great deal of capacity to communicate well with the fan base, and given the uproar over the basketball situation, that's definitely working against her," says Ricky Curotto, the university trustee.

In January, Curotto says he met with Gore-Mann at her invitation in what he interpreted as an effort on her part to reach out, but came away "with no more clarity about what her vision is for the [basketball] program than when I went in."

Some influential boosters say Gore-Mann's tenure began on the wrong foot, if for no other reason than the manner in which she was hired.

They insist that Macmillan, who was largely responsible for hiring her, misled them into believing that there would be a national search to replace Hogan, and then ended up "rubber-stamping" Gore-Mann's application without considering other candidates. "There was a search committee, but the selection process itself was a sham," recalls Jeff Nelson, the former women's volleyball coach at the school, who left to go to the University of New Mexico. "I know, because I was on the committee."

Gore-Mann, a former Stanford women's basketball star, had served as the number two to former athletics director Ted Leland at Stanford, including a year as interim director when he took a leave in the late '90s.

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