JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Scott Carter, who had been the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) since August 2017, resigned on Monday.

The decision is effective immediately, according to a news release from the university. During Carter’s tenure at ETSU, student-athletes won several championships, including three SoCon Commissioner’s Cups, ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland noted in a news release.

During a late morning news conference Monday, acting athletic director Richard “Doc” Sander, Carter’s predecessor, said there was “no connection” between Carter’s resignation and Monday’s additional announcement that ETSU is firing its women’s basketball coach, or to alleged improprieties in ETSU’s softball program.

Sander called it “a really tough time in college athletics,” listing the high level of transfer portal activity, NIL (name, image likeness) issues, athletes’ mental health during COVID and conference realignments among the stressors.

“This is a really tough time and I think Scott has done a tremendous job, so I think sometimes you just get worn down,” Sander said.

“I think that’s where he was. I can’t really speak for Scott. But those things are not related at all. This report … I just want to make that perfectly clear … it’s just kind of coincidental that the timing is the way it is.”

Sander was referring to a soon-to-be-released report of ETSU’s investigation into allegations against Simon Harris surrounding his dismissal of two players in the middle of the 2021-22 season. That investigation found Harris created an “invalid rule” then disciplined the players without proof they even violated the rule. It also found that Harris, who is being fired effective Aug. 15, likely violated NCAA rules to the extent that the NCAA is investigating ETSU.

In his statement, Noland spoke positively of Carter’s five-year tenure.

“His commitment to ETSU Athletics, his decency and his love of sport are unquestionable,” Noland said. “Mr. Carter and I have discussed the future of collegiate athletics at length and agreed it is best for him to take a step back from this environment and spend more time with his wife and two children who are in high school. I would like to thank Scott for his service and dedication to ETSU.” 

The three SoCon titles included two SoCon football championships — with a share in 2018 and an outright title in 2021. On the court, the 2019-2020 ETSU Men’s Basketball team saw a 30-4 season — marking the most season wins in program history. The team won a SoCon Tournament outright and received an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, which was ultimately canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Sander will serve as interim athletic director until the university can fill the position permanently. Sander previously served as the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics from 2013-2017.

This is a developing story. News Channel 11 will provide updates online and on-air.