Minnesota AD Norwood Teague resigns amid sexual harassment allegations

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Friday, August 7, 2015

Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague resigned on Friday morning amid allegations of sexual harassment involving two university employees, the school announced Friday.

The university released redacted transcripts of the sexual harassment complaints against Teague, which included texts to one woman in which he asked her to skinny dip and for him to perform oral sex on her.

The woman told school administrators that what started out as her texting with Teague about setting him up with one of her friends quickly devolved into Teague pinching her butt repeatedly and asking whether she was open to cheating on her husband.

"Then his texting started to cross the line as he suggested skinny dipping, another drink with no touching, his attraction to me, etc.," the woman wrote to school administrators. "At this point I responded, 'No' and 'Stop.' He continued to text."

The other woman said Teague seemed intent on being next to her at the event and that she felt cornered by him at times. She said he kept asking when she was going to marry her boyfriend, and that he made unwelcome physical advances such as rubbing her back and poking her side.

Both women, whose names were blacked out in the report, said they left the event with others because they felt that Teague might otherwise try to follow them. The school's president, Eric Kaler, said the investigation of the incidents has been handled internally, and he's unaware whether the women involved will seek legal action in the future.

Teague resigned Friday, effective immediately, and apologized for having sent "inappropriate texts" in a statement issued through television station KARE 11. He said he drank too much that night and that he would seek help for an alcohol problem.Kaler confirmed that Teague agreed to get help for his challenges with alcohol and avoid all contact with the two victims in the case.

"I behaved badly towards nice people and sent truly inappropriate texts," Teague said. "I'm embarrassed, and I apologize to everyone involved. This neither reflects my true character or the true character of this great, great university."

Kaler announced Teague's resignation in an email to staff, pointing out that the women who accused Teague of harassing them are not student-workers.

"To be clear, sexual harassment will not be tolerated at the University of Minnesota and I sincerely regret that our employees experienced this behavior. The University has an explicit policy and a strong code of conduct that articulates our standards," Kaler wrote.

Beth Goetz, deputy athletic director and senior woman administrator, has been named interim athletic director. Teague brought Goetz with him when he left Virginia Commonwealth University for Minnesota in 2012.

"Gopher Athletics has 725 student-athletes preparing for the upcoming academic year," Goetz said in a statement released by the school. "These young men and women have produced positive results -- both academic and athletic -- in recent years. During this transition and beyond, our focus is on fully supporting them, as well as our coaches and our staff, as we build on that success and keep our athletics department moving forward."

Teague was hired to replace Joel Maturi and was charged with reshaping a Golden Gophers athletic department that had fallen far behind the rest of the Big Ten in terms of facilities. Unlike Maturi, who tried to build a department that put resources into both the cash-generating sports like football and men's basketball and the lower-profile sports, including track and wrestling, Teague came in with a clear plan to emphasize the most popular sports in the hopes of generating more revenue that could trickle down to the rest of the department.

He set about to raise nearly $200 million to bring new practice facilities for football and men's basketball -- a gargantuan task for a school that hasn't had the type of sporting success that gets big donors to open their wallets. But Teague helped raise about $70 million in the first year of the plan, and the school had hoped to start breaking ground on new projects this fall.

"I feel bad for everybody in the situation. Certainly not a good situation, but I trust our president," football coach Jerry Kill said. "I've talked to President Kaler and I trust him 100 percent, and everybody's going to say we're going to get that thing started," he said, referring to the groundbreaking on the new facilities.

Kaler said the fundraising efforts will continue without Teague.

"I believe our donors are giving to an athletic village program at the University of Minnesota. They were not giving to an athletic village program for Norwood Teague," Kaler told reporters at a Friday news conference. "The university's momentum behind this is high. I've spoken with several members of the Board of Regents who expect us to continue to advance this project and bring it forward on schedule."

Teague carved out a reputation as a basketball administrator in his previous six years as athletic director at VCU, where he teamed with coach Shaka Smart to bring the little-known program to national prominence. While at Minnesota, he fired Tubby Smith and hired Richard Pitino, the son of coaching legend Rick Pitino, to lead the men's program. He also replaced Pam Borton with Marlene Stollings on the women's side.

Teague said he planned to "reassess my career and life options. While I'm proud of my career accomplishments, I want to stop and take a look at my life and alcohol issues."

Kaler said the Teague will not receive a severance package, but the university may choose to hire him as a consultant in the future -- at $285 per hour -- to assist in fundraising efforts and identify donors for projects he previously managed.

Kaler said the best way for the university to repair its national reputation, blemished long before an academic scandal removed its 1997 Final Four banner, is to move forward.

In recent months, the school has been accused of discrimination under Title IX in its appropriation of resources for women's athletics, an allegation that federal officials are reviewing. Former Gophers basketball player Daquein McNeil left the squad in January after he was arrested on a domestic violence charge. Just over seven months later, Teague resigned from his post as athletic director because of sexual harassment.

Kaler said Teague's actions do not reflect a cultural issue for the athletic department at Minnesota.

"It's the action of one man," Kaler said.

ESPN.com's Myron Medcalf, Brian Bennett and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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