Monday, May 21, 2007

See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil

Could there be a conflict of interest at BigU?

Not according to AD Maturi; according to Associate AD Wistrcill it is just the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Sometimes it is hard to keep up with the wily administrators and athletaestheticians at BigU.

Jay Weiner of the Strib has an excellent piece today on the academic equivalent of the revolving door at the military-industrial complex.

From the article:

This marriage of commercial interests and college sports is creating cozy bedfellows. For instance, the U athletic department's lead representative in negotiations with Learfield for rights to TCF Bank Stadium is associate athletic director Tom Wistrcill.

Just 13 months ago, Wistrcill was a Learfield employee.

Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi says there's no conflict of interest.

University Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter said before he signs off on any Learfield-TCF Stadium deal he wants to be assured "we're getting full market value."

One issue is the negotiating role of Wistrcill, who was hired by Maturi.

"I haven't seen any conflict myself," said Pfutzenreuter. "I think Wistrcill knows exactly who he's working for. It's the University of Minnesota."

Said Wistrcill: "There could be the appearance of [a conflict] ... Others could say, 'Hey, here's a former Learfield employee negotiating a deal with Learfield. What's going on?' That's why other people [in the central administration] are involved. ... I'm going to do what's best for the university."

But Pfutzenreuter said that, if a tentative deal is struck with Learfield to market the new stadium, "I'm likely to say I want an independent assessment."

UD does justice to this subject in the larger context of academics and sports. See part III of her post. - Three Ways of Looking At A Sports Fiasco

As Mr. B. has noted in the past, ethical standards are apparently rather low here at BigU.



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