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Memphis probes possible conflict of interest involving Tom Bowen, Josh Pastner

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Memphis is launching an investigation into whether athletic director Tom Bowen had a conflict of interest while negotiating basketball coach Josh Pastner's 2013 raise and contract extension.

University President M. David Rudd said in a statement Tuesday the school is "aware of the accusations" and is "retaining an outside source to conduct the review."

Rudd said a public statement would be made concerning the findings at the end of the investigation.

The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal first reported the investigation, noting that Pastner and Bowen were once both represented by Joey McCutchen's NextLevel Sports. Bowen told the newspaper he ended NextLevel's representation after Memphis hired him as athletic director in 2012.

Pastner received a raise from $1.7 million to $2.65 million after Memphis went 31-5 and won an NCAA tournament game in 2013.

Under terms of that raise and extension, Memphis would have owed Pastner $10.6 million if it had fired him after the Tigers went 19-15 this season and failed to reach the NCAA tournament for a second straight year.

"Our program operates in a manner consistent with the core values of our University and community but has fallen short in our on-court performance the last two years," Rudd and Bowen said in a joint statement issued Friday. "The U of M will make the necessary investments and changes in order tha our program may compete at the highest level with Josh Pastner as our coach."

Pastner owns a 167-73 record with four NCAA tournament appearances in seven seasons.

Bowen and McCutchen didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment.