University of Minnesota associate athletic director resigns

University of Minnesota associate athletic director Mike Ellis resigned from his job on Friday, university officials confirmed. Ellis had been on voluntary leave since early September while the university investigated several anonymous complaints.  

His leave came on the heels of former athletic director Norwood Teague’s resignation in August. Ellis was the athletic department’s second-in-command, brought on by Teague himself in 2012.

Teague resigned after he was reported for unwanted sexual advances, harassment and inappropriate contact.

Days after Teague’s resignation, five anonymous ethics complaints came through the university’s online reporting system.

Ellis has since, at least for the most part, been on voluntary leave, pending the investigation into those unspecified allegations. The Star Tribune reported that one complaint alleged had pornographic images of students on his cell phone and shared those images with Teague and others.

But in the resignation letter Ellis sent to interim athletic director Beth Goetz, he wrote he's “pleased the university made no disciplinary findings against [him] and that no discipline has been imposed or proposed against [him] related to any ongoing investigation."

“Upon reflection, Mr. Ellis decided to leave the university and consider the multiple offers of employment that he has received over the last few months," Chris Mandel, Ellis' attorney, said in a statement. "After fully cooperating with the university’s investigation, he is pleased, but not at all surprised, that they discovered zero wrongdoing on his part.”

Ellis' last day will be on Nov. 20. 

Letter of resignation from Mike Ellis 

Please accept my resignation from my position as Executive Associate Athletic Director
for Gopher Athletics, effective Friday, November 20, 2015. I am proud of my work for Gopher
Athletics, and have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the University.

Working at the University has been challenging and rewarding. Recent events relating to
the former Athletic Director, however, have resulted in me being investigated for certain
unsubstantiated, anonymous allegations. I am pleased that the University has made no
disciplinary findings against me, and that no discipline has been imposed or proposed against me
related to any ongoing investigation. (This doesn't surprise me, as I have done nothing wrong.)

Thankfully, I have had several recent opportunities of employment. Consequently, I have
decided it is best for my family and me to accept one of those opportunities and move on.

I understand that I will continue to receive my regular compensation and benefits through
the effective date of my resignation. After my resignation date, I will receive benefits typically
provided to University employees in my job classification who resign from their employment,
including payout of accrued vacation, and the opportunity to continue health care benefits
pursuant to federal COBRA provisions. I will work with the University's employee benefits
office for information regarding these benefits, and to complete any required paperwork.

On a personal note, I will miss working with you especially. You are an exceptional
employee, manager, and, most importantly, person. I know that you will continue to excel in
everything that you do, whether it is for Gopher Athletics or elsewhere.

Thank you for the opportunity to work with the program. In the interests of clarity and
fairness, please confirm if the above understandings are true and correct. I wish you and Gopher
Athletics the very best.