Boston defends hiring colleague

Kristin Gustafson

Vice President McKinley Boston defended hiring Anthony Adams, a former University of Wisconsin NCAA compliance director who resigned after breaking the rules he was hired to enforce, in response to a Friday article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
“Mr. Adams’ commitment of a secondary violation at the University of Wisconsin had no bearing on my decision to recruit him for the position. The position for which I recruited Adams was entirely different than his position in Wisconsin,” Boston wrote in a statement Saturday. Boston is the vice president of student development and athletics.
The Pioneer Press reported that Adams, who was hired at the University last October for a 10-month position, was among more than a dozen Badgers officials who broke NCAA rules by improperly spending booster club funds, resulting in the Badgers being placed on a two-year probation last March.
Boston said he was unaware of the violations, which were considered as secondary by the NCAA, according to the article.
However, in a statement issued to The Minnesota Daily, Boston wrote: “I am very familiar with Mr. Adams’ background, skills and qualifications as I have been a mentor to him for over 10 years. It was the totality of his experience, including being a former Division-I athlete, an academic student-life adviser and former director of athletic compliance that made him an excellent candidate for this limited-term appointment.”
Chris Schoemann, the University’s athletic compliance director, said he had no knowledge of Adams’ alleged violations at Wisconsin.
“As far as Mr. Adams’ job performance at the University of Minnesota, I have never been made aware of any instance in which he operated outside of the confines of the NCAA rules,” he said.
As associate program director of student-athlete welfare, Adams reported jointly to Housing and Residential Life as well as Academic Counseling and Student Services, according to his job description.
In addition to addressing social misconduct of student-athletes living in residence halls, Adams was to assess how the two departments could work together better, Boston said.
Adams’ temporary position ended Aug. 31.
Amy Phenix, institutional relations program director, said no rule was violated in hiring Adams.
She added that Adams worked for the Georgia State University athletics department before Boston hired him, demonstrating that another university saw Adams as an appropriate risk.
Secondary violations — such as the two reported in the Pioneer Press — are very common, Phenix said.
Incident reports in Wilkins Hall more than tripled while Adams lived in the dorm, according to the Pioneer Press. One of Adams’ responsibilities included addressing incidents in Wilkins Hall, a residential hall, which houses many student-athletes.
Housing and Residential Life recently implemented a zero-tolerance policy to crack down on drug use in residence halls.
Phenix said increased enforcement might increase incident numbers and does not necessarily mean Adams did a poor job.
“I am confident that the recommendations Mr. Adams provided throughout his tenure, as well as those I will receive in a written report within the next month, will prove useful as the two units work together to plan life-skills workshops this year and in the future,” Boston wrote.

Kristin Gustafson covers University administration and welcomes comments at [email protected] She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3211.