St. John’s University senior associate athletic director Brian Colleary was fired earlier this month for misappropriating tickets to St. John’s Red Storm basketball games.
According to a statement released by the university, Colleary was suspended without pay on Feb. 9 pending an investigation of his activities. The investigation was triggered by evidence that Colleary was involved in “inappropriate activities,” a classification that was upgraded to “misappropriation of tickets” following the investigation.
Colleary, who had been working at St. John’s for six years, was then dismissed from his position on Feb. 15. According to St. John’s, this was an isolated incident and Colleary was the only staff member involved. St. John’s has also stated that as a result of this incident, the university has “strengthened controls and policies” on the handling of tickets.
As college sports become more and more high profile, tickets to events — especially BCS and NCAA play-off games — are being sold on secondary market ticketing sites. The high value of resale for college sporting tickets places the NCAA in a precarious situation.
The focus of the NCAA is on allowing its athletes to remain amateur athletes, and as such, the NCAA has created a stringent series of rules and regulations that must be followed. However, with college football and basketball, the two highest profile NCAA sports, the conflict between amateur status of athletes and potential financial gains from sales of tickets and other perks often results in scandals regarding NCAA rules violations.
While there have been several high profile NCAA violations of late, most have not dealt with ticket resale. The most prominent recent college basketball ticket scalping case occurred in 2010 with the University of Kansas Jayhawks. One of the NCAA’s premiere basketball teams, the Jayhawks were faced with a massive scandal that saw several prominent staffers caught scalping tickets to home and tournament games. Last spring, those involved were sentenced to jail time and required to pay restitution to the university.
While details surrounding Colleary’s actions remain scarce, depending on the severity of his actions there could very well be state action in addition to NCAA action. St. John’s, which is located in Queens, New York, is subject to New York State law regarding ticket resale.
While New York allowed ticket resale without restriction until 2010, then Governor Paterson allowed for that law to lapse. Currently, New York law caps ticket resale prices at no more than two dollars above the ticket’s face value. Depending on the sale price of Colleary’s tickets, it is possible that he could face state action.
There has been no word from the NCAA on whether Colleary or St. John’s will face any sanctions for the ticket scalping scandal. TicketNews will keep abreast of the story and report on any further action taken by either the state of New York or the NCAA.