University says ex-Minnesota athletic director didn’t disclose issue
MINNEAPOLIS — Former University of Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague failed to disclose that he was facing a gender discrimination complaint at the time he was recruited and hired, according to the school.
Teague resigned this month after he was accused of sexually harassing two administrators during a senior leadership retreat July 15. Teague read an apology the day of his resignation in which he blamed alcohol for his behavior at the event and vowed to seek treatment.
The university had hired Parker Executive Search in 2012 to find an athletic director and check the backgrounds of leading candidates. Parker asked candidates to disclose any potential issues of controversy or concern and Teague signed a statement saying no such issues existed.
The search failed to reveal that the women’s basketball coach at Virginia Commonwealth University, Beth Cunningham, filed a complaint against Teague when he was athletic director there. VCU settled the complaint for $125,000.
University President Eric Kahler said Minneapolis-based attorney Karen Schanfield has been hired to investigate what the school called "key issues" involving Teague and events leading to his resignation. That will include the VCU settlement with Cunningham, the school said.
"Per its contract with the University, Parker Executive Search had responsibility to complete background and reference checks," the university committee involved in the search for an athletic director said in a statement Monday.
Parker Executive Search in Atlanta did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
The University of Minnesota said Parker assured the school "that it had no knowledge of any illegal or inappropriate behavior concerning a candidate’s history or current employment."
"With respect to Teague," the university said in a statement, "specifically, as the committee’s recommended finalist, Parker conducted a full, thorough, and comprehensive background check that included a criminal check, references, credit check, and local and national media reviews for any potentially controversial areas of concern."
The university administrators Teague harassed, Erin Dady and Ann Aronson, called sexual harassment "a predatory act" and said having too much to drink does not excuse it. After Teague resigned, a third woman, Star Tribune basketball reporter Amelia Rayno, published her own account Monday accusing Teague of sexually harassing her in 2013.
Teague didn’t immediately respond to an email, and his university-issued cell mailbox was full and wouldn’t accept a new message. Teague hasn’t responded to repeated emails, calls and texts from AP since his resignation.