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Volume 25 No. 61
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Univ. Of Minnesota's Next President Key To Athletics' Future

UM would be helped by its next president having a full commitment and clear vision for athletics
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Univ. of Minnesota President Eric Kaler will step down after the '18-19 school year, a move that "brings uncertainty about what that might mean for the future of Gophers athletics," according to Chip Scoggins of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. There is the question of how the new president will "view athletics in relation to the overall mission of the university," which should be an "important component of the vetting process." Nothing "supersedes academics in importance," but the visibility of sports on campus is "interwoven with a university’s brand, image and personal connection to alumni, donors and future students." That mandates "full commitment and clear vision from the school’s No. 1 leader." UM needs football and men’s basketball to "win more, but the department finally has some positive momentum with Athletes Village, recent coaching hires and a smart leader" in AD Mark Coyle following the "fiasco" surrounding former AD Norwood Teague's resignation in '15. Several regents have "voiced concerns about the university’s continued practice of subsidizing athletics." BOR Chair David McMillan said that the board "should ask tough questions to keep close tabs on spending and make sure both the university and athletic department are held accountable." A strong athletic program "helps the bottom line significantly." In terms of fundraising, winning "inspires giving," and everyone "loves a winner" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/17).