Leaders call for close eye on athletics

Nick Wicker

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler has called for more financial oversight in the school’s athletics department after an internal audit released Tuesday revealed misuse of school funds.
 
The audit found that athletics administrators, including former athletics director Norwood Teague, failed to justify nearly 30 percent of department purchases between 2012 and 2015. A third-party investigation into sexual harassment allegations was released alongside the audit.
 
Kaler’s suggestions at Friday’s Board of Regents meeting called for University officials to improve how they monitor sexual harassment, expenditures and hiring practices in the department, according to a press release.
 
Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter and Vice President for Human Resources Kathy Brown will report their progress to the board on Jan 19.
 
“The implementation steps will help reinforce a culture that reflects and promotes our values against sexual harassment and assault within athletics and across the University,” Kaler said Friday in the release. “Next steps will also improve compliance, accountability and stewardship in Athletics finances.”
 
Pfutzenreuter said the time leading up to the January deadline will determine specifics for preventing misspending in the future.
 
“We’re going to get down into the details of reviewing what [the athletics department’s] oversight protocols were and where the failures or breakdowns occurred,”
Pfutzenreuter said. “We’re going to see if those same corrections or solutions can apply to the University as a whole.”
 
On Tuesday, Regent Darrin Rosha criticized the department’s level of accountability and suggested penalties for lavish administrative spending.