Wichita State University fired athletic director Darron Boatright on Wednesday amid growing criticism over the university's inability to compete in the new market of name, image and likeness payments to athletes.
As reported by The Associated Press, university president Rick Muma said in a news release that Boatright had achievements and successes during his tenure, but "there were significant, ongoing concerns that became acute in recent weeks, ones that I did not believe could be addressed." Muma did not elaborate.
Boatright served the WSU athletic department for 12 years, including six as its full time director.
Sarah Adams, the school's senior associate athletic director and senior women's administrator, will become interim athletic director while a search is conducted for Boatright's replacement. "I am confident that she will provide us with the leadership, stability and compassion needed during the transition," Muma wrote in his statement.
Critics targeted Boatright in recent weeks because Wichita State had not raised funds after the Supreme Court lifted a ban on college athletes being compensated for their names, images and likenesses. They said it was Boatright's responsibility to ensure the school's donors were aware of the new rules and be prepared with incentives to retain current players and attract new ones.
The men's basketball program had eight scholarship players enter the NCAA transfer portal this spring.
“Where we erred was focusing on educating our athletes about NIL and not just collecting cash and paying kids to come to Wichita State,” Boatright told The Wichita Eagle in an exclusive interview last month. “We were told all along this was not pay-for-play, but now it appears the NCAA has no problems with that, so why not?”
Boatright was given a two-year contract extension through June 2024 that gave him a 37.5 percent raise to $275,000 a year. Fans were critical because the extension was never publicly announced and came during the coronavirus pandemic.