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Business professor examines sports fraud

February 01, 2012 12:00AM

A Pittsburg State University business professor has been published in a national magazine for addressing a hot-button topic in the university world: fraud in intercollegiate athletics.

David O'BryanDr. David O’Bryan, a professor in the Department of Accounting and Computer Information Systems at PSU, co-wrote the article “One-Way Ticket to Jail: When Major League Money Meets Little League Controls,” published in the January/February 2012 edition of Fraud Magazine, a publication of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).  The ACFE is the world’s largest anti-fraud organization, and Fraud Magazine is distributed to all of its nearly 60,000 members in 125 countries around the world.

For their case study, O’Bryan and his co-author, Dr. Herbert Snyder, a professor of accounting at North Dakota State University, examined the ticket scandal that came to light last year at the University of Kansas. O’Bryan and Snyder explained what went wrong in KU’s ticket office, why college athletic programs are vulnerable to fraud, and how universities can reassert control over college athletics to prevent illegal activity.

“Athletic tickets are a valuable commodity so it is no surprise that in the absence of rigorous controls you could experience fraud,” said O’Bryan. “Who wouldn’t want free tickets to a Big 12 event, the Final Four, or a BCS Bowl game? Although the financial costs can be significant, the damage done to an institution’s reputation is much greater.”

O’Bryan explained that the ACFE teaches that “an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure” - an approach that was certainly true in the case of this study.

“It is an honor to know that the leading anti-fraud organization in the world felt our article would be useful to its members,” he said. “We hope our recommendations can help prevent future occurrences of fraud in intercollegiate athletics.”

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