Big Game, Athletic Director Investigation Put TU in the Spotlight

As the Golden Hurricane prepare to face off against the UCF Knights in the Conference USA championship this weekend, the University of Tulsa's athletic department is in the spotlight.

But the big game isn't the only reason.

As the school and community leaders try to encourage people to come out and support the home team in the football conference championship on Saturday, the school's athletic department faces increased scrutiny after Athletic Director Ross Parmley was suspended this week amid allegations of gambling.

Channel 8 caught up with TU fans eating at Burn Co. BBQ across the street from the university Friday. Everyone Channel 8 spoke with said they hope the controversy does not cast a shadow on the game.

"It's just that sometimes, people that run things make stupid decisions, but that shouldn't muck it up for the kids, for the student athletes. Shouldn't hold it against them," said TU fan, Brett Greenhaw.

A representative at TU said the university is "entirely focused" on its students, athletes, and community. The rep said there are still tickets available, and they encourage everyone to come support the team.

Parmley has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, according to the school's statement.

Parmley was identified in an federal court affidavit in an illegal gambling case against suspected Oklahoma City bookie Teddy Mitchell. The affidavit details several of Mitchell's financial transactions.

One of the transactions is a 2009 deposit in the amount of $1,782 from Parmley, who is identified as an "admitted gambler" in the affidavit.

>>Read the part of the affidavit that mentions Parmley

The affidavit does not detail how Parmley gambled. NCAA regulations prohibit employees of an NCAA program from wagering on "intercollegiate, amateur, and professional sports in which the Association conducts championships," according to the NCAA website.

School officials said an NCAA official will begin an investigation sometime within the next week.

The conference USA championship game is at 11 a.m. Saturday at H.A. Chapman Stadium. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 918-631-4688.

The game will be televised on ESPN2.