East Carolina University says Athletic Director Terry Holland has repaid the $25,000 given to his relative after an internal audit said the payments were an inappropriate use of university funds.
ECU hasn't identified the relative, but Holland's brother Gregg told the News & Observer of Raleigh he received the money.
Fifty-one-year-old Gregg Holland, a business student at ECU, received salary from the athletic department as well as payments for tuition, room and board.
Terry Holland says in a letter that the payments caused embarrassment for the university and its supporters. ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard says Holland has responded completely to his questions.
Here is the news release from ECU:
East Carolina University News Services
For immediate release
Date: Dec. 05, 2007
Holland reimburses ECU for aid
GREENVILLE(12/05/2007) East Carolina University Athletics Director Terry Holland, in response to a recent audit report concerning the employment of his relative, today gave a $25,000 check to the university.
In an accompanying letter to Chancellor Steve Ballard, Holland wrote, "There is no doubt that this incident has created a great deal of embarrassment for ECU and for many good individuals who care about the university and who also care about me."
Holland's statement continued: "It is not my desire to defend my decision but I do believe our Pirate faithful has always depended on me to be open and frank with them in good times and bad times, even though there are many who disagree with me on specific issues. It has been extremely frustrating to be in a position that does not allow that open dialogue. Immediately after meeting with the auditors in September, in addition to ending the employment agreement, I made a commitment to increase my Circle of Excellence gift from $50,000 to $75,000 to insure that the athletic department was not disadvantaged in any way by the agreement that had just been terminated. I am enclosing a check for $25,000 to ECU, instead of the Circle of Excellence, to fulfill that commitment."
Holland, who had arranged for tuition assistance and employment for a relative through the Athletics Department, repaid the full amount of both the financial assistance and wages to the university.
The non-athlete student, who began receiving the financial assistance from the Athletics Department in the fall semester of 2006, and who worked part-time for the department, had been awarded a total of $16,639.19 for tuition, fees, books, room and board. Holland canceled the award effective Sept. 30.
Ballard said, "Coach Holland has responded completely and appropriately to all of my requests related to this issue of employment. Coach Holland has been forthright and has over-complied with suggestions to rectify the perception created by his decision. From the beginning, he has encouraged us to provide more information to the media and the public than we can legally provide. Further, he has my complete confidence as among the very best athletic directors in the nation. East Carolina is fortunate to have him."
Bob Greczyn, chair of the ECU Board of Trustees, said he is pleased the matter has been resolved.
"The ECU Board takes this issue seriously. By taking responsibility for this situation and returning the funds, Terry Holland has completely addressed the situation to our satisfaction," he said.
"The chancellor indicates that the auditor's recommendations will be developed into policy, consistent with national best practices, to ensure that future hiring and financial aid practices will be clear," the board chairman said.
Greczyn added, "Terry has my unequivocal support, and the full support of the trustees, as athletics director of East Carolina University."
Ballard added, "I can assure everyone that the auditor's recommendations are under development and will be consistent with national best practices.
This matter has been reviewed by the ECU Board of Trustees, and I consider it to be concluded. Let's all work toward the great opportunities in front of East Carolina University," he said.
END OF RELEASE