SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Lawmakers on Tuesday released the results of a wide-ranging audit of the University of Utah athletic department that was prompted by its cancellation of the 2016 basketball game against rival Brigham Young University.
Among the most interesting findings was that Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak had not yet repaid the $80,000 it cost to cancel the game, an expense he promised to personally cover.
Krystkowiak is instead making four payments of $20,000 over four years. He made the first payment out of his private foundation, Krystko Foundation.
In canceling the game, Krystkowiak said the teams needed time to cool off after BYU guard Nick Emery was kicked out for throwing a punch during the 2015 game.
The move angered Ute and Cougar fans and triggered a debate on social media that even Utah’s governor weighed in on.
The university told auditors that Krystkowiak used money that he gave to the foundation, not donor contributions, to pay the cancellation cost, but auditors say they can’t confirm that because the foundation’s records are private.
Krystkowiak declined comment until he could examine the audit.
Citing the rivalry, lawmakers on an audit subcommittee requested the report in February, a month after the game was canceled. Its findings were largely unremarkable.
House Speaker Greg Hughes, the only subcommittee member who attended BYU, said then that the review would allow an understanding of athletic department revenues.
At a hearing Tuesday, Hughes and other members of the subcommittee pored over the report, spending more than an hour questioning auditors and the school’s president and athletic director about equipment, budget and other findings. They did not ask about the canceled game or the rivalry.
Rep. Brian King, D- Salt Lake City, said some saw the audit as punishment for the canceled game, but he thought it provided useful information and reflected well on the school.
Utah president David Pershing said the school agreed with the audit’s recommendations recommendations for tighter controls of the department’s budget and operations and said the school is making the changes.
The series dates to 1909 and was only canceled once — in 1944 due to World War II.
Utah and BYU are scheduled to meet again in December 2017 and in 2018 as part of the newly formed Beehive Classic.
Utah, BYU, Utah State and Weber State will play in a December basketball tournament that starts in 2017 and runs each year through 2019.
The audit focused on granular operations of the athletic department such as whether audio visual equipment and electronics were properly labeled and inventoried and how recently locks were replaced on buildings.
Legislature Auditor General John Schaff said Schaff he didn’t know how much the “efficiency and effectiveness” audit cost, but three staff members and an intern have been working on it since late March, while juggling other projects.
It’s the first time Schaff’s office has audited a university athletic department.
The 72-page report also found that salaries for most coaching staff increased significantly after the school joined the Pac-12 in 2011, and expenses have also jumped in an effort to compete with other Pac-12 schools.
AP Sports Writer Kareem Copeland contributed to this report.