HONOLULU — The University of Hawaii appointed Ohio State’s Ben Jay as its new athletic director Friday.
Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple’s announcement came as the university sought to put the fallout from a botched charity concert behind it. Jay will replace Jim Donovan, who was given a new post following a bungled Stevie Wonder concert and athletic department fundraiser earlier this year.
The university cleared Donovan of any wrongdoing, but a state Senate report last month said the incident had tarnished the university’s reputation nationally and within Hawaii.
Jay has served as senior associate athletics director for finance and operations at Ohio State since 2006. The University of Hawaii did not immediately provide details such as his start date or length of contract or salary, saying in a news release that those details will be released after approval of the appointment by university system President M.R.C. Greenwood.
The university lost $200,000 in the concert after it wired the money as a deposit to a company claiming to be Stevie Wonder’s booking agent, Epic Talent LLC. The Senate Special Committee on Accountability said a lack of oversight and communication among athletic department officials, the university’s general counsel and its disbursing office contributed to the problem.
The university called off the event in July after Wonder’s agents notified them that Epic had no authority to set up events for the singer. The committee concluded the university could have avoided losing the money if officials had performed due diligence on the company.
A North Carolina man has pleaded not guilty to charges he defrauded the school.
Apple said Jay would be a great addition to the university “with his vision and strong finance, accounting and compliance background.”
The committee tasked with finding Donovan’s replacement received more than 150 applications. Howard Karr, who chaired the search advisory committee, said in a statement that Jay “brings an extensive background in management and financial experience from big-time college athletics, has numerous valuable contacts and possesses the vision, leadership skills, passion and integrity to take UH Athletics to the next level.”
Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith said he was “extremely proud” and happy for Jay, and that Jay would be sorely missed.
The University of Hawaii is a member of the Mountain West Conference for football and Big West Conference for other sports.