Two complaints accusing former University of Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague of gender discrimination against co-workers resulted in $300,000 in settlements dating back to 2012, records obtained by the Star Tribune show.
The complaints were filed by employees at the University of Minnesota and at Virginia Commonwealth University, where Teague worked before being recruited by the U.
Teague resigned from the University of Minnesota on Friday after revelations that he sexually harassed and groped two female U employees, and sent lewd texts to one of the women.
On Monday, Star Tribune reporter Amelia Rayno recounted her own experiences of being sexually harassed by Teague, saying she tried to get away from his advances one night in December 2013. Teague followed her into a cab, then grabbed her and pinched her, Rayno wrote. University President Eric Kaler responded to Rayno's account by saying the school "will look into whether any university employees who have a responsibility to report these kinds of concerns were aware of the incidents."
Teague did not respond to a request for comment on Monday. A U spokesman said the school had no comment on the gender discrimination complaints, and declined to make Kaler available for an interview.
The first complaint accusing Teague of gender discrimination was filed in 2012, when he was the athletic director for Virginia Commonwealth University. Women's basketball coach Beth Cunningham filed the complaint.
The specific reason for the complaint was not provided in the records obtained by the Star Tribune.
Teague took the athletic director job at the University of Minnesota in April 2012. Cunningham, the winningest women's head basketball coach in Virginia Commonwealth history, left to take an assistant coaching job at Notre Dame in May 2012. VCU settled that complaint in July 2012 for $125,000, records show.
Cunningham could not be reached for comment. Officials from VCU did not respond to requests for comment.
In March 2013, Regina Sullivan, a senior associate athletic director for the University of Minnesota, filed a federal complaint against the U after she was fired from the school in October 2012. Teague, she said, "expected a woman in my position to take a passive role and defer to men's opinions" on issues pertaining to Title IX, the law that bans sex discrimination in any federally funded school.
In her complaint, Sullivan said Teague fired her because she questioned his "commitment to Title IX." Records show the U settled with Sullivan in November 2013 for $175,000.
University of Minnesota spokesman Evan Lapiska said the school has received only the two complaints about Teague. Asked about the complaint filed by Sullivan, Lapiska said it was filed against the U, not Teague. He would not say whether the university investigated the allegations made by Sullivan.
Lapiska said he did not know if any complaints have been made against Teague since he resigned on Friday.
Federal probe continues
In June, the U.S. Department of Education informed the U that it would investigate the school's compliance with Title IX, following an anonymous complaint that Gopher women's sports had become an afterthought under Teague's direction. That investigation is ongoing.
Former University of Minnesota women's volleyball coach Stephanie Schleuder sees a connection between Teague's treatment of women and the federal Title IX investigation.
In 2013, she sent a letter to Kaler and the university's Board of Regents demanding that Teague apologize for comments he made in the Star Tribune, saying the school could not add more sports because of Title IX. Teague's remarks showed "absolutely no consideration or respect for the struggles of women to receive equitable athletic opportunities," Schleuder said in her letter.
Schleuder told the Star Tribune she got no response from either Kaler or the regents. Teague called her to "help her understand" what he meant, she said.
"He is very dismissive of women. He sees them as his plaything as opposed to someone he is supposed to be representing," said Schleuder, who is in the Minnesota Volleyball Hall of Fame and who will be inducted into the American Volleyball Coaches Hall of Fame in December. Her teams with the U and later at Macalester won 702 matches.
In 1995, Schleuder received a $300,000 settlement from the university after she filed a discrimination complaint about the school.
The chair of the School's Board of Regents, Dean Johnson, said Monday he never had any reason to suspect that Teague mistreated women.
In the wake of the revelations about the complaints made against Teague, Johnson said the school should work to better identify how to prevent such incidents from occurring.
"I would fully expect that policies in the athletic department and universitywide will be examined," he said.
Brandon Stahl • 612-673-4626