University of Minnesota admits to 'human error' in hiring Norwood Teague
MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - In the aftermath of University of Minnesota Gophers Athletics Director Norwood Teague’s resignation over sexual harassment complaints, University officials find themselves trying to explain the vetting process that led to Teague’s hire.
Teague, who made a salary of over $420,000 in 2014, came to the University of Minnesota from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2012. While working at VCU, he was accused of gender discrimination by the women’s basketball coach. That complaint was settled shortly before he came to Minnesota for $125,000.
“All the indications were that things were okay -- and had they not been okay, he would not have been hired,” University of Minnesota Board of Regents Chairman Dean Johnson said.
Johnson admitted the hiring process wasn’t free of human error.
"We found out a bit later there were a couple of red flags,” Johnson said.
But the magnitude of the red flags came as a shock to him -- "You can hire and interview someone all week long, they come to work Monday morning and you're still not sure who you get totally.”
On Tuesday, Johnson and University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler announced that an independent investigation will look into the athletics department.
“It's not a witch hunt, we're not pin pointing anyone," Johnson said. "We have no reason to believe there's problems, but we want to make sure so when the next athletic director takes office, which we have no idea when that might be, that we know the department of athletics reaches the standards we set forward."
The investigation is set to include internal and external audit that will examine spending, expenses within athletics, employment practices and the overall hiring culture.
“We will be a little more careful, a little more judicious, a little more asking of questions, and you're never 100 percent sure because we're all human beings from time to time," Johnson said.
There's been no word yet on exactly which third party will conduct the independent investigation. The process could take up to six months.
In the meantime, Johnson said the athletics department is in good hands with interim director Beth Goetz.