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Kansas clears AD Perkins

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The University of Kansas said Wednesday
an internal investigation has cleared embattled athletic director
Lew Perkins of any wrongdoing in connection with the free use of
exercise equipment.

Still pending is another, entirely separate scandal that has
rocked the Jayhawks and led to an FBI and IRS investigation. An
investigation commissioned by the school released last month
charged that former employees ran a scam involving millions of
dollars worth of basketball and football tickets.

The independent investigation said the ticket scam involved five
former employees and a part-time consultant and cost Kansas as much
as $3 million from 2005-10. The employees have all been fired.

Although no one has said that Perkins, 65, was involved in the
ticket scam, he had to miss two days of the important Big 12
meetings last week to be in Topeka, Kan., to testify before a grand
jury looking into the matter.

In the exercise equipment matter, former Kansas employee William
Dent claimed that Perkins accepted use of the rehabilitation
equipment in his home in exchange for letting the company's owners
buy premium basketball tickets in Allen Fieldhouse. Dent resigned
from the athletic department in 2007.

Perkins and the owners of the now-defunct company all denied the
charge. In April, Perkins paid Medical Outfitters $5,000 to cover
use of the equipment and told police in Lawrence, Kan., that he was
being blackmailed. A police investigation into his complaint is
ongoing.

However, Perkins may not be entirely out of the woods. He has
asked the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission to determine if he
violated ethics laws that prohibit state employees from accepting
many types of loans and gifts. If the commission says that he was
in violation, he could be fined as much as $5,000.

"It will be up to them to make a determination on that,"
Kansas spokesman Jack Martin told The Associated Press.

But in a statement released with the announcement on Wednesday,
chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little expressed complete faith in
Perkins. In an interview on Monday with the AP, she said that
Perkins' experience and perspective will be needed to help Kansas
survive the possible breakup of the Big 12 Conference.

"I have full confidence in Lew and his ability to focus on what
is best for our student-athletes and the University of Kansas in
the days ahead," Gray-Little said Wednesday.

"Even though we may question the motivations of the source, the
allegations were serious enough to warrant a detailed review. That
review has been completed and its results find no evidence to
substantiate the allegations that were made."

The investigation was conducted by vice provost Mary Lee Hummert
and human resources program director Allen Humphrey.

In e-mails to Perkins that Dent secretly shared with the Topeka
Capital-Journal until the allegations became public, Dent also told
Perkins that he knew of irregularities in the school's drug-testing
program and that some Kansas athletes were ineligible.

"During the course of their review, Hummert and Humphrey talked
with Dent at length as they sought evidence," the Kansas report
stated. "However, he refused to provide specific information
regarding his allegation of drug-testing policy irregularities and
refused to provide the names of student-athletes he claimed were
ineligible.

"Regarding Dent's allegation that the exercise equipment was
given in exchange for favorable seating for the co-owners of
Medical Outfitters, Patrick Carpenter and Mark Glass, no evidence
was found to substantiate this claim. Carpenter and Glass also
denied this allegation."

The ticket scandal and controversy over the exercise equipment
had caused many Kansas boosters to question Perkins' judgment.
There have been calls for his dismissal.

"People keep saying I did something wrong. But I'm the victim
in this," Perkins told The Associated Press last week.

A spokesman said Wednesday that Perkins would have no comment.

"We're going to let this report speak for itself," associate
athletic director Jim Marchiony said.

The Hummert/Humphrey report said a review of seating records
determined that Medical Outfitters had contributed a whirlpool to
the athletic department, not to Perkins, and that Carpenter's seats
were improved under the school's "points system" for that reason.