Saturday, August 08, 2015

Meanwhile, back in Dinkytown.......

The University of Minnesota was starting to be competitive in the high revenue sports of basketball and football. The hope was that if the trend continued, there would be justification for donors to contribute money in order to fund state of the art practice facilities which in turn would entice recruits. Leading the fundraising efforts was Athletic Director Norwood Teague, who has overseen the U of M athletic department for the past few years.

On Friday morning, there were rumors flying around that Teague would be resigning his post that day. As the specifics came out, it was apparent that this was a proverbial self inflicted wound.

In a text message sent to media members, Teague said: "At a recent University event, I had entirely too much to drink. I behaved badly toward nice people, including sending truly inappropriate texts. I am embarrassed and apologize for my offensive behavior. This behavior neither reflects my true character nor the values of the University.

"I am extremely proud of our accomplishments during my tenure here, and I don’t want my personal life to impact the University’s reputation. I have taken immediate steps to obtain help with my alcohol issues, and I take full responsibility for my actions."

(U of M President Eric) Kaler has appointed Beth Goetz, the deputy athletics director, as interim athletic director.

A letter from Kaler said: "Norwood's resignation follows the report of two recent incidents of sexual harassment of two non-student University employees."

At a news conference, Kaler said: "This is the action of a person ... not the action of the University of Minnesota," and added that he had a conversation about the situation with Teague on the day after the event.

Alcohol treatment was discussed at that point, Kaler said The president also said there was harassment "of a verbal and physical nature."

I heard the audio of Kaler's press conference and he was careful not to give any details of which specific event this occurred or when said event took place. His rationale was he wanted to provide the victims with total anonymity. Unfortunately in this era of TMZ and Deadspin, that kind of information is inevitably leaked.

Given that Teague resigned, he gets no severance whatsoever outside of any bonuses he earned up to that point as well as three months medical coverage. That alone indicates he was fully aware of the severity of his actions and thus there really wasn't much to be gained by allowing a long investigative process (Deadspin shared some of the graphic contest of Teague's text messages. Those alone pretty well sealed his fate).

Per Gophers men's basketball beat writer Amelia Rayno, the hope was the U could break ground on a new practice facility this fall (to date, the athletic department has reached 70 million of their $190 million fundraising goal). However, given the uproar surrounding this incident (probably the worst since the men's basketball academic scandal was revealed in 1999), all that is very much in flux. Plus, it's been rumored that current basketball coach Richard Pitino has been entertaining offers from higher profile schools. Friday's news will do nothing to quell said rumors.


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