The University of Minnesota will present the results of two separate investigations into its athletics department at a special Board of Regents meeting on Dec. 8, the Star Tribune has learned.
One report will detail an external review commissioned by the U into sexual harassment and equal rights complaints in the athletics department, and the other will show the results of an internal financial audit under former athletic director Norwood Teague, said regents Chair Dean Johnson.
Johnson said he doesn’t know anything about the contents of the two reports but that whatever needs fixing will be fixed. “We’re going to have a cleaner, more accountable department of athletics — as we would expect of any college or department at the university,” Johnson said Monday.
Gail Klatt, the U’s internal auditor, declined to comment Monday on the financial audit. “It’s a work in progress,” she said. “It’s not complete.”
Teague resigned Aug. 6 amid complaints that he had sexually harassed two top female university administrators during a senior leadership retreat.
Associate athletic director Mike Ellis resigned Nov. 6 after being on leave since August pending an investigation into anonymous complaints against him. In his resignation letter, Ellis pointed out that the U had made no disciplinary findings.
After Teague resigned in August, the U posted his expense reports online but blacked out the names of people he took out for lavish meals.
The Star Tribune requested that the U release copies of Teague’s receipts, together with expense report data for several other top officials. Two weeks ago, after the newspaper prepared a lawsuit, the U agreed to release the names of most donors that Teague entertained in an effort to secure funding for the planned $166 million Athletes Village.
But the U would not release a handful of names of “prospective donors,” citing an exemption under the state public records law. No names have been released yet.
$99 bottles of wine
Records obtained independently by the Star Tribune show that Teague spent nearly $30,000 on meals with donors, staff, vendors and consultants between July 2012 and March 2015. Almost $11,000 of that was spent on liquor — including $18 martinis and $99 bottles of wine. The U said the meetings with donors were to raise money for the Athletes Village.
One expense report shows $1,981 spent on clothing, hair and makeup for Marlene Stollings around the time her appointment as head women’s basketball coach was announced April 7, 2014. The report lists $435 for shoes and a hair stylist, $1,421 for clothing on April 5, and $125 three days later for another hair and makeup appointment. Other documents show Stollings’ hairdresser, David Benson, traveling to two tournaments in 2015. He was listed as “support staff” for the Big Ten tournament and as a “non-athlete” for the NCAA Women’s Basketball tournament. It was unclear whether similar accommodations have been made for other coaches.
Neither Interim Athletic Director Beth Goetz nor Stollings responded to requests for comment. Benson, whose social media postings include many references to Gopher athletics, could not be reached for comment.
The newspaper also has requested the expenses submitted by Stollings, men’s head basketball coach Richard Pitino, Ellis and Tom McGinnis, chief financial officer for athletics.
A U spokesman said those records are scheduled to be released Tuesday, along with e-mails that regents and U President Eric Kaler exchanged in the wake of Teague’s resignation. The U administration did not respond to a request for further comment.
Johnson said that although the information has been deemed public, its release was delayed to give the regents and Kaler a chance to review it.
State law requires the release of public data at the time of the request or “as soon as reasonably possible.”
Johnson said that although he’s not a lawyer, it’s his understanding that the release “can be controlled by the institution.”
“We have a process,” he said. “We think it is a fair process.”