NKU: Former AD accused of stealing $150K in school funds

Scott Eaton
Scott Eaton

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, KY (FOX19) - Northern Kentucky University (NKU) officials revealed additional information regarding the termination of former athletic director, Scott Eaton.

Following an ongoing investigation, officials came across alleged financial misconduct by Eaton.

Officials say Eaton admitted to taking approximately $100,000-$150,000 from the university's athletic department for personal use. It reportedly took place over the last six to eight years.

"This was money that was designed to support our student athletes, our coaches, and everyone committed to the academic and athletic success of our athletes," said NKU President Geoffrey Mearns.

Eaton reportedly admitted financial misconduct to authorities. The school has contacted both the Kentucky Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney regarding the case.

School officials say they plan to pursue legal action to get the alleged mishandled funds back, plus damages.

Earlier in April, Mearns revealed that Eaton also admitted to having inappropriate, intimate relationships with four NKU employees, including two women he supervised. In addition, officials say he admitted to having an intimate relationship with a student in a class in which he was the instructor.

On Tuesday, Eaton's attorney released a statement on his behalf, which reads in part:

"Dr. Eaton's contributions to the University over the past 15 years have come at significant personal cost and sacrifice. As has been reported, Dr. Eaton was a 'workaholic' who went above and beyond in contributing his time and attention to the University and its mission."

It goes on to reveal that Eaton came forward with information and made himself available to speed up the process of the investigation, working cooperatively with NKU's lawyers. He says while he admitted to using NKU funds for personal purposes, the $100,000-$150,000 amount 'is the University's estimate only'.

"Dr. Eaton deeply regrets his mistakes and recognizes that his poor judgement has injured others, including the University as an institution... While no excuse, the fact remains that difficult circumstances can lead good people to make poor decisions."

Michael J. Cusack, former Wright State University director of athletics, was selected to serve as interim AD, effective April 15.

"This is a strong institution. The athletics program is very strong. This was a single isolated individual who engaged in a pattern of misconduct both financial and personal. We've now removed him from the university community and in no way do I think the University needs to rebuild. It's a strong athletic program, and it's going to get even stronger," said Mearns.

Eaton was fired on March 18 following a termination letter from Mearns.

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