Naval Academy sports to implement recommendations for more oversight

March 30, 1995|By Tom Bowman | Tom Bowman,Sun Staff Writer

The U.S. Naval Academy's sports program, criticized on Capitol Hill for questionable spending, is headed for greater oversight and control, an academy official said.

Admiral Charles R. Larson, the academy's superintendent, is expected to implement the recommendations the Navy Department proposed in its review of the Naval Academy Athletic Association. The private, non-profit group finances Navy athletics.

"Admiral Larson's intention is to adopt all of the recommendations that went forward if the Congress concurs with the report," said Capt. Tom Jurkowsky, an academy spokesman.

The report's recommendations, sent to Congress last week, call for establishing a new athletic subcommittee on the academy's advisory Board of Visitors and adding an active duty officer on the NAAA's Board of Control, bringing the number of active duty officers to five, together with a civil servant and the NAAA's president.

The department also recommended that several distinguished citizens with expertise in Division I athletics serve as advisers to the superintendent and that NAAA's annual audit be handled by a "Big Six" firm rather than a local accounting firm.

Congressional staffers are expected to review the recommendations and present them to both National Security committees, which are expected to endorse the recommendations.

Last fall, Congress called for a report on the NAAA and subsequent government control of the sports program after The Sun reported that in 1992 the association bought a $317,000 condominium for the school's athletic director, Jack Lengyel, who also is the NAAA president. The association also sent 96 academy officials, private citizens and local businessmen on an all-expenses-paid trip to the annual Army-Navy game in Philadelphia.

Five months later, the NAAA, citing costs and other factors, saved $250,000 by eliminating four varsity sports programs: men's and women's fencing, women's gymnastics and men's volleyball. About 80 midshipmen were affected.

At the time, Mr. Lengyel defended the expenditures, saying the home was part of his salary package and was purchased as an investment. The private citizens attended the game and received hotel accommodations as a reward for supporting Navy sports, he said.

The NAAA, founded in 1982, is closely linked to the Naval Academy but does not get any government money.

Its estimated $7 million annual budget comes from TV rights for Navy football, ticket sales, investments, public donations, assessments on 4,000 midshipmen and dues from 11,000 NAAA members.

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