By Caleb Slinkard
The Commerce Journal
Former Texas A&M University-Commerce Athletic Director Carlton Cooper is no longer with the university, according to a statement from a university spokesperson.
“Carlton Cooper is no longer employed by Texas A&M University-Commerce,” Interim Executive Director of Marketing Communications Lisa Martinez said. “There are ongoing legal issues which prevent us from providing any additional information.”
This is the most recent wrinkle in a series of bizarre events surrounding Cooper. In early July, Cooper was placed on paid administrative leave for an undetermined amount of time “in order to deal with some personal matters,” according to former Associate Vice President of Marketing Communications Randy Jolly.
An open records request by The Journal revealed that Cooper’s five year contract had expired on July 1. According to Jolly, Cooper’s administrative leave was unrelated to the four to five year time frame mentioned in his appointment letter.
Now the university says that Cooper was no longer any employee of A&M-Commerce as of Aug. 31. A bio of Cooper was removed from the A&M-Commerce athletics website, and the university is currently in the process of removing his information from the directory, according to Martinez.
The university has responded to an open records request by The Journal for information regarding a personnel and financial audit performed by the Texas A&M System of the athletic department by sending the request to the Texas Attorney General’s Office. A letter sent to The Journal by legal assistant Knesha Brashear of the Texas A&M System’s Office of General Counsel states that the system believes the information is exempt from disclosure because the audit was performed after the System received an anonymous tip.
“Exhibit B concerns an allegation of breach of standards of conduct/ethics reported anonymously to The Texas A&M University System Risk, Fraud, and Misconduct Hotline,” the letter reads. “In response to the submitted allegation, the System Internal Audit Department, who is a part of the System’s compliance program, initiated an internal review to assess and ultimately, ensure that employees were complying with all applicable laws, rules, regulations and policies. We believe that the requested information should be withheld from disclosure because the records were collected or produced by the System Internal Audit Department for the purpose of reviewing the compliance processes at TAMU-C, a component institution of The Texas A&M University System.”
Cooper came to A&M-Commerce in 2007 after working for Southern Methodist University for nine years. Sackfield began working at A&M-Commerce in 2008 after 10 years at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
Former assistant athletic director Judy Sackfield is now interim AD for the university.