First, it was have inappropriate relationships with co-workers and students. And now, the former NKU athletic director is accused of misusing more than $100,000 from the university.
Scott Eaton's attorney says his client is ready to do the right thing. Eaton spoke through his attorney on Tuesday night and said he came forward on his own. But the university says it started an audit of the athletic department, and that's when Eaton stepped up and admitted there was a money issue.
Both sides have a slightly different story on a few points, but all sides agree this is both serious and sad.
NKU's president says the diversion of university money took place over 6 to 8 years. Eaton's attorney, Bed Dusing, says his client is taking responsibility. "Dr. Eaton has acknowledge certain improper conduct, and the university was made aware by Eaton himself."
NKU President Geoffery Mearns says "That misconduct occurred over several years by his admission, $100 to 150,000."
Eaton's attorney says that's the university's estimate, but won't say if his client thinks the amount is more or less.
Eaton helped the university make the transition into a Division One program. People have called him a work-aholic. The woman who hired him is retired Athletic Director Jane Meier, who served in the post 21 years. "And he hit the ground running. No one knew what was going on."
"Dr. Eaton deeply regrets his mistakes, and apologizes." Eaton's attorney also says his client says difficult circumstances can lead good people to poor decisions, but didn't elaborate on what that means. The university's president says this won't tarnish the athletic department's reputation, and Meier agrees. "The fact there's been a negative is what it is. Need to move on."
And Eaton's attorney says his client is moving on with the support of friends and family. NKU has talked to federal and state authorities, and the president says the university is a victim and should be paid back for any embezzled money and the cost of recovering that money.
Eaton's attorney says his client has also been in contact with the US Attorney General's office and the state AG. He says so far, his client hasn't paid back any money, but that would be a part of making things right. The university didn't say how any diverted funds were used.
Eaton's attorney says he can't talk about that at this point in the investigation.
Update from April 5, 2013
The President of Northern Kentucky University today sent a letter to the Board of Regents explaining his exact reasons for firing former Athletic Director Scott Eaton. Geoffrey Mearns says his decision came after Eaton admitted to inappropriate relationships with four University employees... and a student.
Mearns became aware of possible misconduct by Eaton on March 8th. He consulted lawyers and decided to suspend Eaton from his duties on Tuesday the 12th. At the time, he did not explain why.
But today, Mearns says an investigation by lawyers led Eaton to admit to "inappropriate, intimate relationships with four University employees, including two women whom he supervised. Three of these women are no longer employed by the University."
"Eaton also admitted that he had an inappropriate, intimate relationship with a student in a class in which he was the instructor." the woman is no longer a student at the University.
The investigation into Eaton's actions continues, according to Mearns, who has appointed Michael Cusack to act as Athletic Director while NKU searches for a replacement.
Eaton took over as AD in July of 2009. Eaton played a major role in the athletics program’s reclassification to NCAA Division I status.
Original story filed March 18, 2013
The President of Northern Kentucky University says he has fired Athletic Director Scott Eaton over alleged misconduct.
In a letter sent to the Board of Regents, and released to the media, NKU President Geoffrey Mearns says his decision to fire Eaton was "compelled by his failure to comply with the University's Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct. His conduct did not meet his responsibility to the University and lacked fundamental integrity."
Mearns goes on to say that he became aware of possible misconduct by Eaton on March 8th and received more information on Monday, March 11th-although he does not go into specifics. Mearns goes on to say that he consulted lawyers and decided to suspect Eaton from his duties on Tuesday the 12th.
Mearns also says in the letter, "On a personal note, I am disappointed by this development. But our University is a strong institution-our strength derives from our collective commitment to integrity and to maintaining the highest levels of personal and professional conduct."
The NKU website says Eaton took over as AD in July of 2009. Eaton played a major role in the athletics program’s reclassification to NCAA Division I status.