Feb. 9, 2000
University President Lee Bollinger officially accepted the resignation of Athletic Director Tom Goss yesterday, after appointing him in September 1997.
“Every decision that I have made in the past 29 months was made from the heart and in the best interest of the University of Michigan and its student-athletes,” said Goss, who is scheduled to leave office at the end of the winter athletic season in March.
“Not everything has been accomplished, but a pathway has been chartered for the next athletic director,” Goss said.
Bollinger said the resignation came after much deliberation.
“This is a decision Tom and I have arrived at that goes back over many months and over many discussions,” Bollinger said. “It is far too complex for any kind of simple statement. This is the right decision for the University.”
Bollinger refused to give the specifics behind the athletic director’s departure.
But as Goss addressed his future options, he mentioned the abruptness of this development.
“I really haven’t had the time to really consider (my options),” Goss said. “This just happened real quick.”
Bollinger then said the months of discussion pertained to the future of the Athletic Department and not specifically to Goss’ tenure at the University. He refuted claims that this development is an attempt by University administrators to exert more executive control over athletics.
“I’ve said from the beginning that one of the things I would not do is run the Athletic Department,” Bollinger said. “It’s simply not the role of the president of the University.”
Bollinger said he recognized the importance of deferring “in most instances to the judgements of individual departments.”
But at the same time, he stressed the need for administrative participation in certain matters to allow for a collective decision-making approach.
“I do not want a University where various parts simply decide how to deal with things and the University, which we are supposed to represent in the central administration, is only informed about,” Bollinger said.
A source said the NCAA’s recent investigation of Jamal Crawford’s eligibility – and Bollinger’s unawareness of it – was a factor in Goss’ departure.
“You can take any of the issues that have been raised in the media over the past two or three years. Every single one of those issues has been a collective effort on the part of the Athletic Department and on the part of the administration,” Bollinger said. “Take any of those issues, and you have University involvement.”
Near the end of this academic term, Goss is to receive a lump sum of $280,500 and will no longer be on the University payroll.
Bollinger said he may name an interim director this spring and plans to form a committee to search for the University’s tenth athletic director. The appointment will be the second in Bollinger’s three-year tenure.