After widespread outcry, North Dakota State University has decided to roll back its draconian and completely ridiculous restrictions on media covering university athletics events.
President Dean Bresciani is now claiming that he wasn’t aware of the rules. Athletic Director Matt Larsen is falling on the sword, apologizing for instituting them:
President Dean Bresciani directed the athletics department to ditch the guidelines it issued Friday, July 29. He wasn’t been informed in advance of the guidelines, the university said.
“I was profoundly disappointed when I learned the facts about this issue,” Bresciani said in a news release. “This is not the way NDSU treats local journalists and our many loyal fans who value the breadth of news coverage NDSU enjoys. As the state’s land grant university, our commitment is to access and inclusion in all endeavors.”
Athletic Director Matt Larsen also apologized in the release: “I erred in not bringing these ideas forward for the president’s review, and I regret the damage this has caused to the administration, institution and university community.”
Here’s the full statement from sports reporter Dom Izzo, one of those who would have been significantly impacted by the new rules:
Here's the release: pic.twitter.com/0xWWyP4PDi
— Dom Izzo (@DomIzzoWDAY) August 2, 2016
I don’t believe for a moment that Bresciani was unaware of these new rules going into place. The idea that the university’s athletics department made this provocative a chance – which, per their official statement, impacted media requests for members of the university’s administration too – unilaterally without consultation with Bresciani’s office is patently ridiculous.
But this is the party line, I guess, and I’m sure the Bresciani loyalists will defend it.
And what else was Bresciani going to do? The State Board of Higher Education has already delayed renewal of his contract pending an improvement plan he’s supposed to be working on with ND University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott, and he could hardly accept responsibility for this boondoggle and expect to keep his job.
Again, I don’t buy for even a moment that Bresciani wasn’t in on these rule changes. But his denial does tell us something interesting.
Far from Bresciani looking to leave NDSU, as some have suggested since the SBHE put him on notice, it’s pretty clear he wants to keep this job.
UPDATE: A reader emails, “Even if Bresciani wasn’t aware, what kind of leader puts their people out to dry like that?”
Good question. The answer is, “a bad one.” Or, more precisely, someone whose priorities are more himself than the sound governance of one of North Dakota’s largest and most important institutions.
I mean, what did we think was going to happen? Bresciani was going to admit that he made a mistake? Please.