Older white guys batted 1.000 (4-for-4) in breaking into the lineup for 2017 with the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents. A pair of these new white guys went out of their way to laud athletic director Mark Coyle when he made a presentation Wednesday.

This included Steve Sviggum, who wasn’t an announced candidate for District 2 but was lined up by Regents back-slappers with a fear that Jim Carter, a potential rattler of the Regents’ collective cage, had an outside shot to get elected.

Ken Powell, the vice chairman in his debut season, also praised Coyle for changing the “culture’’ in U athletics.

Obviously, Ken was impressed with Coyle’s role in trying to cover up a sexual harassment finding within the university against Randy Handel, an important member of the athletic department and thus a public figure.

These white guys also continue to give gold stars to Coyle and university President Eric Kaler for defusing the football players’ brief December boycott.

That’s amazing since it was two holdover Regents, Michael Hsu and Darren Rosha, who were the liaisons with players. The announcement the boycott would end was already set when Kaler rushed across campus to take a bow.

What a lowlife move for the Prez that was.

The academic progress for which Coyle lauded himself Wednesday started long before he was hired. In football, Jerry Kill dug the Gophers from the academic (and competitive) hole into which they had descended.

Coyle and his new coach, P.J. (Windy) Fleck, have continued to take sideways shots at Kill and Tracy Claeys, 9-4 in his one full season, by beating the drum about the need for a “culture’’ change.

Culture has become the holy word of athletics and business — used so often it’s meaningless. So, Powell figured why not and decided to toss out a “good culture there, buddy’’ for Coyle.

As for Coyle, his key word Wednesday was “transparency.’’ Of course, there’s no chance that Mr. Transparent would have demoted Handel if Ch. 5 had not revealed the harassment finding.

But, hey, keep patting everyone on the back. That’s what the older white guys are planted to do with the Regents.


Scatter-gunning, in honor of the great Don Riley:

• Jorge Polanco is fortunate he is out of minor league options, or he would be in Rochester the way he has been hitting and fielding of late.

• I’d rather have Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins in 2017-18 than Kevin Garnett, Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell in 2003-04.

• After endless bravado, P.J. Fleck is like the rest of ’em. Heard him devote an interview to lowering expectations for this fall.

Read Patrick Reusse’s blog at startribune.com/patrick. E-mail him at preusse@startribune.com.

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