Illegal Procedure? Blackman High School Football Boosters Walk Fine Line to Support Team
This critical incident describes a situation in which Dr. Leisa Justus, in her first year as principal of Blackman High School (BHS) in 2014–2015, became concerned about monies disbursed by the BHS Football Boosters Club. She was especially concerned about payments made to the head football coach, who had a strong, winning record spanning his six years with the program. When she met with the coach to discuss her concerns in February 2015, he resigned his position. An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury ensued. Among the investigation’s findings were nearly $97,000 in unauthorized payments by the boosters’ club to football coaches and over $200,000 in club disbursements made outside school system purchasing procedures for fieldhouse construction. BHS personnel, including the head football coach, also charged nearly $70,000 in fuel purchases directly to the school without proper documentation. Lax or non-existent controls made this creative funding possible. Administrators needed to take actions to prevent a situation similar to BHS football occurring in the future.