O’Dell’s side job linked to Raycom

By Wes Swietek

NIU Athletic Director Gerald O’Dell was at the University of South Florida in Tampa this week, apparently working as a consultant for an organization with ties to a firm that has done work for NIU.

South Florida has established a task force to look into starting a football team and has hired Sports Resources Group of Charlotte, N.C., as a consultant.

SRG is headed by William Carr, who was formerly a director at Raycom Management Group. NIU has used Raycom, which specializes in executive searches, three times for coaching vacancy searches.

NIU most recently hired Raycom in its search for a new men’s basketball coach last spring. Raycom billed NIU $8,513 for the search which produced current head coach Brian Hammel. Carr’s signature appears on the contract between Raycom and NIU on Raycom’s behalf.

Leon Mandell, a chemistry professer at South Florida and head of the football task force, said O’Dell was part of the SRG group that met with school officials this week.

O’Dell could not be reached for comment.

Mandell said task force members were using the SRG consultants to answer their questions regarding the “economic background” of fielding an NCAA football team.

A spokesperson for SRG declined to comment and South Florida officials were unable to tell the Northern Star how much SRG and O’Dell were being compensated for their work.