Report on Media Restrictions Controversy Says Bresciani Didn’t Violate Policy but Mislead on His Knowledge


The independent investigation report into NDSU President Dean Bresciani’s handling of controversial media restrictions earlier this year is out, and it’s a bit of a mixed bag.

You can read the whole thing below.

On one hand, Bresciani gets dinged for poor communications with his own athletics department which the investigator said could have stopped this controversy from taking place to begin with. From the conclusions:


The investigator also concluded that Bresciani gave a false impression about his knowledge of the media guidelines, and had poor communications over the issue with Chancellor Mark Hagerott and the State Board of Higher Education:


In Bresciani’s favor, however, the investigator concluded that he did not lie nor did he specifically violate any SBHE policy:


You really have to twist the facts into a pretzel to conclude that Bresciani did not lie, I think.

“I was profoundly disappointed when I learned the facts about this issue,” Bresciani said in a news release back in August when he rescinded the media restrictions. “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.”

Yet that statement simply does not jibe with what Bresciani was saying behind the scenes in text messages and emails. I don’t know how an intelligent person could read this email (as one example) and conclude that Bresciani was anything other than informed about the media restrictions and supporting them:


That Bresciani, just a couple of days after this email was sent, would say that he was “profoundly disappointed” in the rules sure seems like a direct contradiction to what he wrote in this email.

If Bresciani didn’t lie, then he’s carrying on and on about how wonderful these media restrictions were apparently without really knowing all that much about them.

That may be even worse than lying.

Regardless, what the report details about Bresciani’s problems with communications are exactly why the State Board of Higher Education delayed approval of his new contract. What will this report mean for that contract getting renewed in November when the board meets again? It’s hard to say. I’m told the board is deadlocked right now. A majority vote of the board is required to approve a new contract.

If all the board members keep their current positions – and I don’t know why any would change given that this report seems to validate the concerns the board has already expressed – Bresciani isn’t getting a new contract and that has to mean that NDSU will get a new president.

UPDATE: Statement from SBHE President Kathy Neset:

The full report is below. You can read all the relevant text messages and emails I obtained here.

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