N-C DOUBLE A REPRESENTATIVES ARE HEADED TO EAST TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY THIS WEEK TO CONTINUE THE ASSOCIATION’S REVIEW OF THE SCHOOL’S TENNIS PROGRAM. THIS AS NATE MORABITO’S DISCOVERED ANOTHER E-T-S-U TENNIS COACH FACED DISCIPLINE AND AGREED TO REIMBURSE THE UNIVERSITY FOR QUESTIONABLE EXPENSES. THAT EMPLOYEE IS LABELED AS “COACH B” IN A SECOND AUDIT OF THE TENNIS PROGRAM. E-T-S-U’S PRESIDENT IDENTIFIED “COACH B” AS WOMEN’S TENNIS COACH RICKY ROJAS. ACCORDING TO PUBLIC RECORDS, ROJAS SUBMITTED FAKE INVOICES AND COLLECTED ALMOST $2,000 AS A RESULT…A DISCOVERY THAT CAME AFTER AUDITORS IDENTIFIED SIMILAR BEHAVIOR BY FORMER MEN’S COACH YASER ZAATINI. (GOLDEN) “IT’S JUST INCREDIBLY DISAPPOINTING.” WHAT STARTED WITH DISAPPOINTMENT AT THE TOP OF THE TENNIS PROGRAM HAS SINCE TRICKLED DOWN… (GOLDEN 22:19:03) “ONE YOU START HAVING QUESTION MARKS ABOUT ONE THING IT STARTS LEADING TO QUESTION MARKS ABOUT OTHER THINGS.” IN THE MONTHS AFTER E-T-S-U AUDITORS CONCLUDED YASER ZAATINI USED FAKE INVOICES TO COLLECT TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN INAPPROPRIATE REIMBURSEMENTS, THEY FOUND THE WOMEN’S COACH DID SOMETHING SIMILAR ON A MUCH SMALLER SCALE. (NOLAND 03:55:29) “WITHIN THAT REVIEW, THERE WERE QUESTIONS ABOUT COACH B AS THE AUDIT REFERS TO, COACH RICKY ROJAS, THAT’S THE WORK THAT WE’RE MOVING THROUGH.” THE AUDIT FOUND COACH B ALSO SUBMITTED FABRICATED RECEIPTS…CLAIMING ANOTHER COMPANY OR INSTITUTION PERFORMED RACQUET STRINGING SERVICES WHEN HE IN FACT STRUNG THE RACQUETS HIMSELF. E-T-S-U’S SINCE REPRIMANDED HIM AND HE IS PAYING BACK NEARLY $2,000 IN QUESTIONABLE COSTS, ACCORDING TO AN AUDIT SUMMARY. DR. NOLAND TOLD US THE N-C-DOUBLE A WILL BE ON CAMPUS THIS WEEK TO CONTINUE ITS REVIEW OF THE ENTIRE TENNIS SITUATION…WHICH STARTED WITH CONCERNS FROM STUDENT ATHLETES. (NOLAND 03:51:57) “I LOOK FORWARD TO MEETING WITH THEM AND I DON’T KNOW IF THE NCAA WILL FIND THAT VIOLATIONS OCCURRED THAT RISE TO A LEVEL OF SANCTION, WE’LL KNOW THAT IN WEEKS TO COME.” NOT ONLY DID THE INITIAL AUDIT RESULT IN CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST ZAATINI, E-T-S-U’S PRESIDENT SAYS IT’S ALSO SINCE LED TO MORE OVERSIGHT AT THE UNIVERSITY LEVEL FOR BOTH COACHES AND ADMINISTRATORS… AND MORE OVERALL ACCOUNTABILITY. (NOLAND 03:56:34) “I’M NOT SAYING THAT GOOD COMES FROM BAD, BUT IN MANY RESPECTS WE’RE A STRONGER UNIVERSITY AND WE’RE MORE ACCOUNTABLE BECAUSE OF THE LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE TENNIS SITUATION.” WE’VE ALSO DISCOVERED ANOTHER AUDIT INVOLVING TENNIS…THIS ONE FOCUSING ON A FORMER UNNAMED TENNIS COACH LABELED “COACH C.” AUDITORS FOUND FROM 2010 TO 2016 HE RECEIVED MORE THAN $10,000 IN REIMBURSEMENTS FOR STRINGING EXPENSES SUBMITTED BY AND PERFORMED BY HIM. THEY CONCLUDED EMPLOYEES SHOULD NOT BE COMPENSATED THROUGH THE TRAVEL CLAIM PROCESS. AS FOR YASER ZAATINI, HE PREVIOUSLY PLEADED NOT GUILTY TO A CHARGE OF THEFT AND 22 COUNTS OF FORGERY. HE IS DUE BACK IN COURT IN MAY.

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Dennis Veasley

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