WCHA calls for unplanned financial review in 1996

Michael Rand

The financial hot water Bruce McLeod bathed in as athletics director of Minnesota-Duluth may be spilling over to the WCHA.
The WCHA’s executive council, headed this year by interim Duluth athletics director Patricia Merrier, decided earlier this month to order an external audit of the league’s financial records.
McLeod resigned as Duluth’s AD in mid-August amidst a police investigation of $18,000 in undocumented withdrawals he made from a fund-raising account, but he retained his post as WCHA commissioner.
The WCHA used to conduct audits — which cost between $2,000 and $2,500 — every year, but it now normally conducts them every other year in order to save money. The league was audited in 1995 and is scheduled to be audited again in 1997. An audit was not scheduled for 1996.
Merrier said the decision to conduct a special audit this season was directly related to the financial mishandling at Duluth. The audit is a precautionary measure, and there is no evidence of wrongdoing in the WCHA office, she added.
McLeod, who became AD at Duluth in 1983, was also reprimanded in 1994 for increasing the salary of an assistant coach who was going through an costly divorce.
Because the audit was not scheduled, each team in the WCHA voted on the decision, Merrier said. The ballots were returned Monday, and, although the decision was not unanimous, a majority of schools favored an audit.
The WCHA executive council — a rotating, three-person panel consisting this year of Merrier, Denver AD Joel Maturi and Minnesota faculty athletics representative Norm Chervany — informed McLeod of the audit and he agreed with the decision, Merrier said. McLeod is out of town until Monday and could not be reached for comment.
Merrier said the council is hoping the investigation concludes before NCAA meetings in January.