WSU athletics in hot water after internal audit discovers accountability and management issues

click to enlarge WSU's Martin Stadium. - YOUNG KWAK
Young Kwak
WSU's Martin Stadium.

An internal audit of Washington State University ATHLETICS has found that the department not only inflated ticket sales in 2016 but that the department as a whole has issues with mismanagement and lack of accountability.

The audit findings, presented to the WSU Board of Regents, recently revealed that "the environment within athletics ... did not support a culture of compliance or fiscal responsibility."

The audit was intended to investigate complimentary tickets given out for a home game against the University of Arizona in November 2016. The compliance office in the athletics department was not told about who got free tickets. One employee, the audit found, gave away four premium club seats for the Arizona game to "cultivate donors," but the department couldn't say who received those tickets. Those issues could violate NCAA rules, the audit found.

But the auditors discovered other problems within the department, including that the school was inflating ticket sales for home football games. For an Apple Cup game, for example, WSU reported a sellout with nearly 33,000 in attendance, when the scanned attendance was actually around 27,000. The athletics department, however, has noted that it released the attendance numbers as "sold" tickets, not just attendance.

The university's athletics department, headed now by Athletic Director Pat Chun, responded to the recommendations of the audit, promising that changes would be made if they haven't been already.

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About The Author

Wilson Criscione

Wilson Criscione, born and raised in Spokane, is an Inlander staff writer covering education and social services in the Inland Northwest.