Yesterday, the University of Minnesota announced its decision to hire Norwood Teague as its new athletics director. While Teague appears to be a good fit for the job, and the decision seems sound, it ironically wasn’t determined by a fair competition; instead, it was made BCS-style, by a committee in private, out of the public eye. The process ought to have been more transparent and should have included more of the University community.
The 23-member search advisory committee who decided on Teague certainly had a variety of positions represented, but there was no open dialogue held at any stage of the process to include any outside opinions.
A decision of this magnitude, taking faculty away from their state- and student-funded positions, deserves more transparency and open discussions to ensure that the right candidate is truly being picked. While not academic, the position of athletics director is certainly critical to this University’s community and mission.
President Eric Kaler himself was nominated in the same fashion: He was named as the only finalist, and public discussion was given only lip service before filling the position. The transparent final interviews that were supposed to occur were merely formalities; the decisions were already made out of the public eye. As a result, uncertainty about how the nominee would have stacked up against other candidates will always remain.
Teague’s track record is impressive, and we wish him the best in his endeavors here at the University. Lamentably, due to the manner in which the search was conducted, the public is forced to take the search committee’s word without oversight that Teague truly was the best candidate in the nation to take this very well-paid and influential position.