Friday, February 3, 2012


Prelude: Bill Gleason

As implied, in the previous post, "more to come" this topic is extremely painful. I have corresponded via email off and on with Mr. Maturi over the years.  He has been admirable in terms of responding candidly and rapidly to my sometimes snarky remarks. I appreciate his support of "minor sports" at the U of M, which unfortunately are all that is left of the scholar-athlete ideal of my youth. 

I remember Brian Generalovich at the University of Pittsburgh who played football or basketball - I forget which - as a first year dental student.  He had been an All-American in the corresponding sport while an undergrad.  Or Jim Pitts - my classmate in German with Fraulein Konig - who was an outstanding basketball player at Northwestern.  He went on to earn a PhD in sociology and became a professor of sociology at Northwestern. At Carleton I remember Tab Baumgartner - an outstanding football player and chemistry major - who went on to Divinity School. And of course, what Minnesotan can forget Allen Page, All-American, Purple People Eater, and State Supreme Court Justice?  I could go on, but Mens sana in corpore sano is a real and admirable phenomenon.

And it is not just "Mens" - thank you Lindsay Whalen and other great women Gopher athletes...

What absolutely galls me about this latest development is the private funding aspect of these discussions. The previous administration - Bruininks and company - behaved as if any non-state funding was their personal piggy bank. If they chose to spend it on an unnecessary renovation of Northrop, for example, then the public be damned.  This is wrong. The money was raised on the good name of the University of Minnesota and is not to be used by administrators for whatever purposes they choose. 

It is the people's money. It is the money of U of M alums and others who want to see it used for the advancement of the University.  I am sorry but giving almost half a million dollars to my friend Joel Maturi is unacceptable and wrong. 

My good friend and admirable U of M alum, Michael McNabb writes:

"I expect to be judged for better or worse by the performance of the next athletic director."
President Eric Kaler in the February 3, 2012 report in the Pioneer Press on Kaler up to job of hiring new AD.
The President should walk outside his office and read the dedication above the entrance to Northrop Auditorium.
Maturi bordered on tearful in his remarks.  They could have been tears of joy, since Kaler made up a job for Maturi that allows him to collect his salary of $351,900 for an additional year.
 See the February 3, 2012 report in the Star Tribune on Legacy of a botched hiring. 
Consider this comment on the use of donors' funds in the February 3, 2012 report in the Star Tribune on Donors will fund Maturi's new job:

Sadly, about six years ago, I came to realize that any money I donated to the U, no many thousands that might be, could never be even as much as a drop in the bucket compared to their ability to waste money every day of the year.  They, employees of the U, just live in a totally different world than the planet the rest of us live on.  Joel Maturi was "earning" this kind of money for each of his ten years working at the U. . . . It is not that fund raisers at the U see us as suckers, it is just that they do not live on this planet when it comes to spending money. 
Or this comment:
The money for his salary comes from donors so it's nothing for anyone to raise objections about? . . . I'm pretty sure that if the donor money was not going to Maturi that it would have gone to something else to better the university.
Or this coment:
This is so sad.  That money could send a few worthy students to graduate school.  I've given up on sending any more money to the U.  As much as I love it, the powers just have no idea of reality.
The administration may be able to lawfully raid the U of M Foundation to use non-restricted funds to pay the golden parachute to the athletic director.  However, those funds were solicited for the general purposes of education, research, and public service.  If the administration abuses the trust of donors by using funds to pay for a "made up job"--a purpose for which none of the donors intended their contributions to be used--then donors will simply stop making donations.  

Michael W. McNabb
University of Minnesota B.A. 1971; J.D.1974
University of Minnesota Alumni Association life member

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