The University of Minnesota said Tuesday it will hire outside experts to examine the finances and employment practices of the athletic department in the wake of Norwood Teague’s abrupt resignation as athletic director.
“We are committed to bringing in outside parties to conduct an investigation,” said spokesman Evan Lapiska.
Teague, 49, resigned Friday following reports that he had sexually harassed and groped two female university employees. Teague acknowledged what he called his “offensive behavior” in the two incidents.
The investigation will take two paths, said Dean Johnson, chairman of the Board of Regents. One will use an employment lawyer to look at “the culture and hiring practices” in the department, he said.
The other will focus on finances, such as expense reports, travel and other spending, at the department that Teague has headed since 2012. Johnson said the U plans to conduct two audits, one by its auditing staff and one by an outside firm. He said the audit would not focus on Teague individually, but “just the whole balance sheet.”
“We have no reason to believe there’s misappropriation of funds or other improprieties,” Johnson said. “But when you have missteps and behavior such as Mr. Teague’s, it’s always good to make sure you’ve checked all possibilities.”
The university announced the new steps as revelations continued to mount about Teague’s behavior before and during his tenure at the U.
On Tuesday, the Star Tribune disclosed that the U paid $175,000 in 2013 to settle a complaint by a former associate athletic director, Regina Sullivan, who accused Teague of gender discrimination when he fired her in October 2012.
In July 2012, his former employer, Virginia Commonwealth University, paid $125,000 to settle another gender discrimination complaint against Teague, which had been filed by the women’s head basketball coach, Beth Cunningham.
In addition, on Monday, Star Tribune reporter Amelia Rayno reported that she too had been sexually harassed by Teague in 2013. Her first-person account prompted President Eric Kaler to announce that he would launch an inquiry “into whether any university employees who have a responsibility to report these kinds of concerns were aware of the incidents.”
Johnson said he met with Kaler Tuesday morning, and agreed on the new inquiries. “This is not going to happen overnight,” he said. He estimated that the investigations could take three to six months.
One goal, he said, is to create “an opportunity for any employee within the department of athletics to come forward and say, ‘I have been wronged.’ ”
Darrin Rosha, a member of the Board of Regents, said he supported the decision. “The board is taking this very seriously,” he said. “The substance and the gravity of the matter at hand would warrant that.”