New allegations have surfaced about UAA’s athletic department which include accusations that the UAA chancellor’s office turned a blind eye to improper treatment of at least one female athlete. Brad Keithley, a lawyer and a possible candidate for governor, is making these allegations on his website. He is also charging that UAA is involved in retribution against him for, among other things, speaking about these issues. Keithley says he is in the process of being permanently barred from further association with its athletic programs
These are serious allegations, and I’ll try to get a response from the university on Tuesday.
Until recently, Keithley was a major donor and was highly involved in UAA’s athletic department.
In his blog, Keithley details how he had a meeting with UAA Chancellor Tom Case about the 2012 hiring of women’s basketball coach Nate Altenhofen and about his concerns with Altenhofen’s sketchy reputation, the lack of adequate community involvement in the hiring, and background checks. Three months later, Altenhofen resigned amid allegations of “professional misconduct.”
Keithley writes that he contacted Case again about a female student athlete who was uncomfortable with Altenhofen, and wanted to transfer, but was denied that transfer by UAA. Keithley, who was then working for a firm that had represented the university, was asked by the university to withdraw the letter because of potential conflicts of interest. The student never got her transfer and enrolled in i
s now at a community college, according to Keithley.
Most recently, Keithley says he is in the process of being permanently barred from further association with its athletic program for what he says is retribution for criticism of the program and for paying for the UAA women’s basketball team to travel from the University of Virginia to Washington D.C., where he hosted a tour of the Capitol followed by dinner for the team and coaches with the Alaska congressional delegation.
This is against NCAA rules, something that Keithley didn’t know at the time. Neither, apparently, did the university, which touted the trip and Keithley’s involvement with it on its website. He was given a special award following the trip for supporting UAA’s athletic department.
He was recently interviewed by the NCAA about the trip, which so far has not recommended sanctions against Keithley. However, Keithley says that he was not interviewed by UAA about the trip.
When he heard about being barred from the athletic program, Keithley sent an email that was distributed to the president of the University of Alaska, the chair of the Board of Regents and the UAA chancellor, questioning the university’s process and proposed actions, he writes. He has yet to get a response.
Keithley’s allegations fall on the heels of the firing of UAA Athletic Director Steve Cobb after an incident involving a coach slashing a hockey player with a stick began to make headlines and Gov. Sean Parnell expressed serious concerns about the public’s perceptions of the UAA athletic department.
To paraphrase an NCAA standard, UAA has become an institution out of control. There appears to be no accountability remaining in the system for bad decisions or for arbitrary and biased procedures. Put another way, when UAA screws up the first reaction appears not to be, how did that happen and how do we fix it, but instead, how do we silence or undermine those who call us out on it so that we don’t have to worry about that again.
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