Investigation reveals money mishandled by UT Knoxville Spirit Team


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – Some of the money collected by the University of Tennessee – Knoxville Spirit Team was never deposited with the UTK Athletics’ Business Office.

That information was revealed in a news release Thursday by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office.

The news release said the Spirit Team is “comprised of Smokey handlers as well as cheer, dance, and mascot teams.”

An investigation found that the money in question was collected by Spirit Team personnel in 2017 and 2018 for a one-day clinic and cheer tryouts.

Authorities said that due to a lack of “internal controls,” investigators could not determine who was responsible for the missing money. “After investigators interviewed the Spirit Team Coordinator in June 2019, she claimed she found a packet containing $2,047 at her residence. The UTK Athletics’ Business Office acknowledged it received this money on August 6, 2019. Due to the Spirit Team’s missing and inadequate records, investigators could not determine whether the $1,580 of missing money was part of the $2,047 the Spirit Team Coordinator found in her residence.”

Officials with the Tennessee Comptrollers Office said they’ve shared the results of the investigation with the District Attorney General of the 6th Judicial District.

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