UNH basketball official accused of filming players in locker room

Posted March 06, 2014, at 7:11 p.m.

DURHAM, N.H. — The University of New Hampshire fired its director of basketball operations last month after he was accused of filming men’s basketball players in the locker room, officials said Wednesday.

Scott Weitzell, 50, of Newmarket, is accused of taking cell phone photos and videos of UNH men’s basketball players during a Jan. 20 game at the University of Vermont, UNH Police Chief Paul Dean said during a news conference.

He was charged Feb. 21 with resisting arrest and falsification of evidence after allegedly trying to destroy the phone when police arrived at his home with a search warrant, Dean said. Additional charges are possible.

Wednesday’s news conference is the first time UNH officials have offered details on the allegations. The university announced Monday that it fired a part-time athletic staffer but did not identify the employee or say what the person was accused of.

The UNH athletic director and other senior administrators learned of the alleged misconduct on Feb. 20, Joel Seligman, the university’s chief communications officer, said Wednesday. He said the officials reported it to UNH police that day.

UNH suspended Weitzell and banned him from campus a day later. He was fired Feb. 25.

UNH, a member of the America East conference, will play in the quarterfinal round as the No. 8 seed on Saturday against No. 1 Vermont.

Meanwhile, UNH administrators are trying to determine why it took a month for the incident to be reported.

“UNH President Mark Huddleston is deeply troubled by the amount of time that passed between the Vermont game and the reporting of the allegations to UNH senior officials,” Seligman said.

“The president is working with the leadership of the board of trustees to determine the best course for a broad, independent investigation and review,” he continued.

UNH police would not describe the manner Weitzell allegedly filmed the players or say how he was caught. Dean said a staff member reported the incident after hearing about it from one or more students.

Police also wouldn’t say how many people Weitzell allegedly filmed. Investigators also are apparently trying to determine if there were other similar locker room incidents.

“At this time, it does not appear that any of the materials seized include images of any persons under age of 18,” Dean said.

University administrators have met with the basketball team and coaches to discuss the investigation. Counseling and support services have been made available to potential victims.

UNH police are working on the case with the Strafford County Attorney’s Office and authorities in Vermont, Dean said. UNH police gathered additional evidence from search warrants conducted at his home and workplace.

Dean couldn’t comment on Weitzell’s role with the UNH men’s basketball team, but a biography page now removed from the UNH athletics website suggests he had a significant role with the team.

“His responsibilities include community relations, coordination of the men’s basketball Cage Club, Alumni Affairs, team budgeting and fundraising and organizing player and coaches’ clinics,” the site said. He also organized large-scale fundraising events such as a golf tournament. He was not a coach.

The UNH bio also says he coached middle and high school basketball in Newmarket for 19 years.

Newmarket police referred questions about Weitzell to a senior officer not available after business hours Wednesday. The department’s arrest log from Feb. 21 shows Weitzell was arrested at his home at 75 Elm St. at about 7 p.m. Additional details were not available.

The Union Leader reported Weitzell was released on $3,000 personal recognizance bail. He is due in Brentwood Circuit Court April 1.

Anyone with information about the case is urged to call UNH police at 862-1427.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

 

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