Amid questions over Teague, university launches investigation

Norwood Teague
Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague spoke at a news conference in Minneapolis in October 2013. The University of Minnesota announced Friday that Teague had submitted his resignation after three years on the job.
Carlos Gonzalez | Star Tribune via AP File 2013

Updated: 11:46 p.m. | Posted: 3:56 p.m.

University of Minnesota officials say they're planning an outside investigation of the school's athletics department, after the school's athletic director resigned amid sexual harassment allegations.

A redacted transcript of the investigation and text messages released later in the day by the university show the graphic nature of that harassment.

The investigative transcript includes passages where Teague pursues a woman with questions about whether she would cheat on her spouse and repeatedly pinches her buttocks and touches her inappropriately during a university event, to the point where she felt "shaken" and "a little fearful if others had not been there."

Copies of text messages reveal a conversation that began pleasantly but degenerated into Teague asking a woman to let him perform oral sex on her.

This week, the Star Tribune's Gopher basketball writer, Amelia Rayno, said Teague had made similar advances and sent similar text messages to her.

Now, university leaders said they are looking into the athletic department's culture, employment practices and any other instances of sexual harassment.

An audit — conducted by an independent employment attorney — will coincide with an internal review, said Dean Johnson, chairman of the university's board of regents.

"When an individual leaves a department at a senior level, such as Mr. Teague, there's automatically within the university an internal audit done," Johnson said. " But we thought it would be good to have an outside audit as well."

The Star Tribune reported the University of Minnesota paid $175,000 about two years ago to settle a complaint filed by former associate athletic director Regina Sullivan, who alleged gender discrimination against Teague. And Virginia Commonwealth University — where Teague worked before leading the Gophers — also paid to settle a gender discrimination complaint by the women's head basketball coach.

Johnson said he heard nothing about these allegations until Teague's resignation last week. He said he does not expect the university and independent reviews to turn up any major problems or additional complaints against Teague.

"It's not a witch hunt, because we have no reason to believe there's other issues within the department," he said. "But we want to make sure to bring confidence back to the people of Minnesota, coaches, the student athletes, the donors."

Johnson said the university hasn't yet selected th says the attorney who will lead the external review, which he expects to take about 30 days. The univeresity's audit, he said, could take as long as three to six months to complete.

Stephanie Schleuder, a former Gophers volleyball coach, said the university could have avoided the problems with Teague if the people who hired him had thoroughly looked into his background.

"It just seems like they have a total hands off way of dealing with problems, and I don't think that's right," she said.

Schleuder coached at the university for 13 years before she was fired in 1995 after filing a pay discrimination complaint, which she settled.

While the university searches for a replacement for Teague, president Eric Kaler has put deputy athletic director Beth Goetz in charge of Gopher athletics.