Joel Maturi

Recent Articles

Pam Borton discusses her coaching past, her Team Women present, her undetermined future

Except for last year, Pam Borton and I have always had an “exit” interview at season’s end. We resumed our tradition last week, but at a local eatery this time and not in her coaches’ office. “I had 12 great years [as Gopher women’s basketball coach]. Lots of memories. I met a lot of great people, a lot of great staff members and players,” said Borton, who was fired in March after a dozen seasons. Continue Reading →

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March madness continues



The National Invitational Tournament (NIT) has a rich storied history dating back to pre-World War II days. The Women’s NIT since 1998 has tradition as well — just not as long as the men’s. However, present-day hoops fans and snobbish media types give both the Rodney Dangerfield treatment:

No respect for either of them. While there are those who only see one tournament, and while the men’s NCAA annually gets marathon King Kong coverage and barely Timberbell-like coverage on the women’s side, this reporter gives four-fold attention to the two bigger tournaments, as well as the NIT and WNIT. Both men and women Gopher squads this week are in their respective NIT sweet 16 — the men play Southern Mississippi Tuesday at Williams Arena, and the women go to South Dakota State on Thursday. Continue Reading →

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College sports: where the money goes


The Knight Commission on Sports recently reported that college athletic spending is three to 12 times more than is spent on academics. Recently, the MSR received the most recent reporting data from the University of Minnesota, and we examined 2012 and 2013 revenues and expenses for all 25 men’s and women’s sports programs at the school. We chose six of them — women’s basketball (WBB), women’s hockey (WH) and volleyball (VB); men’s basketball (MBB), men’s hockey (MH) and football (FB) — because they are revenue generating sports. Rounded in thousands of dollars, monies generated from ticket sales greatly varied among the six teams:


FB — $11.2 million in 2012 and $11.4 million in 2013;

MBB — $5.6 million (2012) and $5.2 million (2013);

MH — $5 million (2012) and $5.1 million (2013);

WBB — $261,000-plus (2012) and $269,000-plus (2013);

WH — $45,000 (2012) and $87,000 (2013); and

VB — $119,000 (2012) and $147,000 (2013). Only Minnesota football ($34.5 million), men’s basketball ($16.9 million), and men’s hockey ($204,919) brought in money from post-season appearances, but not women’s hockey, despite the fact that they won consecutive national championships during the same time period. Continue Reading →

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‘Scheme of dreams’ unveiled post-Tubby

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Former University of Minnesota AD Joel Maturi once likened the rise in upgrading college athletic facilities to “an arms race.” However, it might be better termed as keeping up with the Joneses. Current U of M AD Norwood Teague pledged in July that he would be “aggressive and committed” to building a new on-campus athletic facility. “We need this,” he said of the $190 million proposed football, basketball and training facility. The “Taj Ma-Norwood” is much grander in scale than the promised practice facility that never came to former Gopher men’s basketball coach Tubby Smith while he was here. But somehow, just a few months after firing Smith, Teague can now unveil his privately-funded “Scheme of dreams.”

Somehow such dollars are finding their way to Gopherville now that a White coach is on the sidelines? Continue Reading →

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Norwood Teague fires Tubby Smith!

Gophers fire a great coach rather than build a great team

I understand why Tubby Smith was fired after six seasons, 121 wins, 81 losses and three NCAA appearances. After playing the toughest schedule in the nation, he fired up the Minnesota fan base for Gopher hoops. After a 15-1 start and reaching number eight in the polls, expectations went through the roof and became unrealistic. Tubby said this was his best team, and he was right, with wins over nationally ranked Michigan State, Illinois, Memphis and Wisconsin, the incredible court-rushing experience of beating number one Indiana at Williams Arena. His Gophers even beat one of the top five NCAA programs of all-time, UCLA, 83-63, the Pac 12 Champions in the NCAA tournament; and they finished 21-13 after a second-round loss to No.3 Florida. Continue Reading →

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In college sport, it’s still a White man’s world


An unfortunate imbalance continues in college sport according to the latest report by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES): White men run the show, and women in particular, in spite of Title IX, are losing ground rather than making progress. TIDES Director Richard Lapchick said last week in “Mild Progress Continues: Assessing Diversity among Campus and Conference Leaders for Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Schools in the 2012-13 Academic Year” that key leadership in schools such as Minnesota, and major conferences such as the Big Ten “remain[s] overwhelmingly White and male.”

The telling numbers: White men (92 of 120) hold 76 percent of the college president positions, 84 percent of athletic directors (101 of 120), and 64 percent of the faculty athletic representatives (81 of 126). Whites overall hold nearly 91 percent of the 366 campus leadership positions in America. Moreover, all 11 FBS conferences are run by White men. As a result, Lapchick points out, there’s little change in the number of Blacks in leadership roles: Four of the five Black presidents are male, and all nine Black athletic directors are males as well.  Also three of the five Black FARs are males. Continue Reading →

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New Gophers AD says increasing diversity is ‘high on my radar screen’


Has the role of today’s big-time college athletic director changed? We recently put that question to Norwood Teague, who was hired in April to succeed Joel Maturi as University of Minnesota athletics director. “It’s multi-faceted,” explained Teague, formerly the AD at VCU for the past six years, on his new job. “You have to be very cognizant of a lot of different areas.”

Even more so today, the athletic director is more CEO than cheerleader. “[College sports] has become a bigger business and a larger operation. Continue Reading →

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Gopher AD departs with ‘no alibis, no regrets’



By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


When Joel Maturi steps down next month to become a special assistant to the school president, he will leave a collegiate athletic environment that is markedly different than it was a decade ago when he was hired as the University of Minnesota’s first athletic director of the newly merged men’s and women’s athletic departments. In an exclusive one-on-one interview with the MSR, Maturi recently talked about the changes he has seen and other topics. The latest NCAA data says that nearly 60 percent of a Division I school’s annual athletic budget is for football, and just under 20 percent for men’s basketball. This is no different at Minnesota, whose $78 million athletic budget is largely devoted to Gopher football and men’s basketball. “Football and basketball are big business,” Maturi said. Continue Reading →

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