The problems in the Michigan Athletic Department and the resignation of Athletic Director Tom Goss in the winter of 2000 remain a black mark on Lee Bollinger”s administration.
Goss gave no reason for his resignation, leading many to suspect his handling of finances in the department, deals with broadcasting distributors and problems with the men”s basketball program were factors in his departure.
When announcing his selection of Goss in Oct. 1997, Bollinger praised him as the “absolute first choice” to fill the position of the University”s ninth athletic director.
“It is my responsibility to articulate values and insist that they are implemented,” Bollinger said. “I am very dependent on Tom Goss to run a program we can be proud of.”
Throughout his 29-month administration, Goss was praised by the coaches in the department, especially for the developments made in the women”s sports programs.
But Goss underwent scrutiny from his colleagues after hiring Brian Ellerbe as the men”s basketball coach.
“To change the program was my decision. To hire a new coach will be my decision,” Goss said.
Former Executive Associate Athletic Director Fritz Seyferth said everything that occurs in the Athletic Department is public knowledge.
“No one person can stand that scrutiny. The recent notoriety has made the situation untenable,” Seyferth said.
Goss came under suspicion of the administration when the report of the Athletic Department”s large deficit was released. The loss was the largest reported by the department in 10 years. The department budget had originally projected a profit of $1.093 million, but additional losses discovered in Sept. 1999 brought the net loss to $2.784 million $3.877 million off the original projection.
Goss was also responsible for the $100,000 removal of the halo surrounding Michigan Stadium, the fallout of an internet service deal, and suffered from a public backlash because of a rise in hockey and football ticket prices.
Lack of communication with University officials was also suspected as a reason for his resignation.
Goss” failure to notify the correct officials about the six-game NCAA suspension of freshman basketball player Jamal Crawford for accepting gifts was suspected as the act which solidified his departure from his position.
At the time of Goss” resignation in Feb. 2000, both Goss and Bollinger insisted the resignation was a mutual decision. Bollinger denied that Goss was ordered to resign.
“I do not want a University where various parts simply decide how to deal with things,” Bollinger said when Goss” resignation was announced.