| ||Wednesday, February 9|
|ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan athletics director Tom Goss
ended a rocky 2½-year reign by resigning Tuesday, effective at the
end of March.
"It has not been easy, but the positive outweighs the negatives," Goss said at a news conference.
University president Lee Bollinger accepted the resignation.
"I want to express my admiration and gratitude for the many qualities Tom has brought to this athletic department," Bollinger said. "Tom has a deep and emotional connection to the university rooted in his days here as a student-athlete."
A source close to the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Bollinger had asked Goss to resign. The source said Goss considered fighting the request, but didn't.
"He didn't want to go to court," the source said.
Bollinger said the reasons for Goss' resignation is far too complex for any kind of simple statement.
Earlier reports had said that Goss, 53, would likely be fired if he didn't resign. Just last week, Goss rejected as rumors reports that his resignation was imminent.
Goss was the university's ninth athletics director -- the fourth in 10 years -- and the first black to hold the job.
The Detroit News and The Ann Arbor News reported in Tuesday's editions that Goss' departure comes after he angered Bollinger by not telling him of an NCAA probe of the eligibility of Wolverines freshman basketball player Jamal Crawford. Bollinger refused to comment on those reports Tuesday.
The NCAA last week suspended Crawford, the team's leading scorer, for six games for his living arrangements while in high school.
The papers reported that Bollinger learned of the Crawford investigation on television while watching a basketball game between the Wolverines and in-state rival Michigan State while he was in Washington D.C.
Their efforts quickly focused on Goss' handling of the Crawford case, according to the Detroit paper. After two days of fact-checking, they recommended Thursday that Bollinger ask Goss to resign.
Don Canham, who held Goss' job for two decades, was saddened by the news.
"I'm sick about it," Canham said. "He was an outstanding individual, a great guy. Not to have at least five years (on the job) is not the way Michigan operates."
Goss has also been criticized by some of the university's regents for a budget deficit last year. He was placed under close scrutiny by the administration after a $2.8 million budget deficit was revealed last June, sources have said.
Last weekend, The Ann Arbor News reported sources as saying Bollinger would likely not pick a permanent replacement until near the end of the school year in May and that the next athletics director would not necessarily have strong ties to the university.
When hired at Michigan to succeed Joe Roberson, who retired, Goss became the Big Ten Conference's highest-paid athletics director with his initial salary of $220,000. In April 1998, Bollinger boosted Goss' to $275,000 and paid him an extra, one-time payment of $30,000.
Goss is a 1968 Michigan graduate who played football for the Wolverines. He was an executive in private business, most recently for PIA Merchandising Corp. in California, when Bollinger hired him.
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