Skip to main content

Accusations and leaks: Gophers athletics is embroiled in more controversy

It centers around an accusation of sexual harassment against an associate athletics director.

The University of Minnesota recently launched a sexual harassment investigation into a member of the Gophers athletics department, and officials are distressed details of the case were leaked.

KSTP reported Wednesday night the Gophers' associate director of development was being investigated over a claim he sexually harassed another athletics department employee. The TV station obtained a leaked email sent to members of the Board of Regents, detailing the allegations.

That leak prompted a closed-doors meeting Thursday, as the Board of Regents launched an official inquiry into how the information got out there. The regents called on each of the 12 board members, as well as any university employee who saw the memo, to sign an affidavit stating they did not leak it to the media.

Board of Regents Chair Dean Johnson said the board has a duty to "act professionally and ethically and to maintain privacy and other legal expectations," adding that the person who leaked the memo "may have betrayed the public's trust."

“That’s why members of the Board believe strongly that we need to investigate any potential leaks of private and confidential information,” Johnson said. “We will get to the bottom of this and take necessary action as we become aware of the facts.”

The U also said it will not hold KSTP responsible if the station releases the identity of the leaker, who Johnson says could have violated "the data privacy act," MN Daily reports. The TV station rejected this offer.

As for the sexual harassment claims, U of M spokesperson Chuck Tombarge said in a press statement: "The University takes very seriously any accusations made against any of our employees. However, as is the case in any private personnel matter, the University cannot discuss the details of the current situation."

More on the memo

The memo said the associate director, identified as Randy Handel, had been investigated by the U's Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action following a complaint made by an athletics department worker. The EOAA issued its preliminary findings on May 3, KSTP notes.

Handel has not been criminally charged, and the details of the allegations are unknown. GoMN chose to name him as he's a public employee (meaning his salary is paid by taxpayers) in a high-profile position at one of the state's largest universities.

Handel was promoted to the associate athletic director position in 2013 by former Gophers AD Norwood Teague, who himself left under a cloud amid allegations of sexual harassment. He's responsible for the "day-to-day development operations" in the Golden Gopher Fund, which includes all fundraising activities, his U of M bio says.

He's currently on leave.

Next Up

940 Margaret St, St Paul, MN 55106, United States - May 2019 (1)

4-year-old girl struck by hit-and-run driver in St. Paul

The girl was struck by the driver around 5 p.m. Monday.

Minneapolis police

Baby found safe inside car that was stolen in south Minneapolis

The incident happened near 32nd Street and Chicago Avenue around 7 p.m.

Anthony Edwards

Ant puts on a show to help Timberwolves beat Pacers

A third-quarter surge gave the Timberwolves their seventh win in their past eight games.

Mikko Koivu

Wild to retire Mikko Koivu's No. 9 jersey

Koivu will be the first player in franchise history to have his number retired.

Boebert-Omar - Flickr Gage Skidmore

Rep. Boebert refuses to apologize for Islamophobic comment toward Rep. Omar

A phone call Monday between the two lawmakers ended abruptly.

Patrick Peterson

Vikings place Patrick Peterson on COVID-19/reserve list

The Vikings cornerback said he was vaccinated in August.

flickr - thin ice warning - USFWS Midwest

'Numerous' reports of eager anglers falling through ice

Conditions are still unpredictable, and can vary even across a single body of water.


Minnesota health officials watching closely for omicron variant

Health leaders do not yet know how transmissible or severe the new variant is.

school bus stop pixabay

School bus driver charged in fatal hit-and-run will plead guilty

Another motorist told the driver to call 911, but he instead got on the bus and drove off, charges say.

Franconia Sculpture Park - Lorie Shaull - Flickr

5 outdoor destinations to explore around the Twin Cities

There's something for everyone on this list of overlooked spots.

Child mental health counseling

As pandemic continues, so do efforts to improve child mental health access

Children's Minnesota has announced it will open its first inpatient mental health facility for under 18s.

Dalvin Cook

Mixed reports on Dalvin Cook's injury status

The Vikings running back could miss two games...or he could play Sunday.


Accusations and leaks: Gophers athletics is embroiled in more controversy

It centers around an accusation of sexual harassment against an associate athletics director.

Used Gopher athletic gear on sale Saturday

The University of Minnesota is selling used athletic equipment from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Sports Pavilion. Some of the items for sale include team jerseys, shoes, clothing and other assorted equipment.

$74k probe fails to find source of U of M sexual harassment leak

The independent investigation took about four months.

2 Gopher athletes jailed on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct

Two wresters were reportedly arrested on Saturday night.

University of minnesota sign

U of M launches sex assault investigation against ex-hockey assistant coach

It follows a report published this week by The Athletic.

U of M suspends 4 Gophers wrestlers until January

The U of M confirms the wrestlers will be banned for "violations of team rules."