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San Diego State's Bay Resigns

Athletic director disputes response to audit that uncovered improprieties.

May 23, 2003|Eric Stephens | Times Staff Writer

Rick Bay resigned Thursday as athletic director at San Diego State, after a disagreement with university president Stephen Weber over a state audit that uncovered improprieties in the department.

According to a report released earlier this month by California State University auditor Larry Mandel, there was widespread mismanagement in the San Diego State equipment room that involved the sale and trade of athletic equipment in exchange for personal favors.

School officials said Bay was not directly involved in the improprieties, but Weber said there was disagreement over the school's response to the audit.

"I believed we had very serious allegations that required an openness to investigate and track down and Rick was convinced of the integrity of his colleagues and the professionalism of his department to where he put himself in a position to basically deny them," Weber said. "I can respect him for that. But at the same time, I can't put him in charge of addressing those concerns."

Weber fired senior associate athletics director Jana Doggett and equipment room manager Steve Bartel has been put on administrative leave.

Though he was not identified in the report, Bartel is alleged to have sold or traded shoes and other athletic gear in exchange for golf clubs, concert tickets and other items. The audit also stated the athletic department did not properly monitor transactions made by Bartel.

Bay said he agreed with most of the audit but was critical of the assertion that there was a lack of institutional control over the program.

"I disagree sharply with the suggestion that we didn't have a constructive climate to work in and there was fear of retribution," he said. "I could not get anybody to show there was a credible source to support those allegations.... I think the university became prisoner to rumor and innuendo."

Weber said he expects to name an interim athletic director in the next two weeks and a search for Bay's replacement will begin immediately.

During Bay's eight-year tenure, San Diego State built a new basketball arena and baseball stadium. He also hired men's basketball Coach Steve Fisher and former San Diego Padre star Tony Gwynn as baseball coach.

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