MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — An outside investigation of University of Minnesota athletics largely exonerates the department of allegations of widespread sexual harassment.
The report out today could not substantiate evidence of sexual harrassment or inappropriate conduct. But it cites misspending in the athletic department's $100 million budget.
The investigation came after the University's former Athletic Director Norwood Teague resigned for sexually harassing two co-workers. Teague resigned in August after admitting he texted sexually explicit messages to two female coworkers at a management retreat. The three-month investigation by an outside Minneapolis law firm found some discrepancies, but no way to substantiate serious claims of misconduct.
Investigators said they reviewed "numerous claims" of sexual harassment against Teague, but some were anonymous and others refused to be interviewed.
The investigation found no evidence to substantiate other allegations of sexual harassment by Teague or other officials in the Athletic Department, nor evidence to prove the University knew, or should have known, of any prior complaints against Teague.
"By and large, the athletics department reflects the respect towards women that Minnesotans expect from this flagship institution," investigator Karen Schanfield.
Investigators also reviewed how Teague was hired, after it was revealed he was the target of a discriminatioin complaint at his former school, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).
The report concludes that, "even if University had known of the VCU complaint when Teague was hired, this knowledge would not have provided notice that Teague would later engage in sexual harassment".
"Anytime an institution or ship takes a scud -- which we did -- there's damage. No doubt about it," Dean Johnson on the university's Board of Regents said. "But we are now in the process of repairing that damage."
The report did find "inappropriate" spending habits in the Athletic Department: Thousands of dollars spent on alcohol, clothing, hairstylists, private planes and limousines.
And it recommends major changes in finance controls.
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