Harmeson says he's legally prohibited from commenting on Buning
A UND administrator says his hands are tied from discussing the sudden leave of absence by Sioux athletic director Tom Buning. Phil Harmeson, UND vice president for general administration, told the Herald on Thursday that he is "legally prohibite...
A UND administrator says his hands are tied from discussing the sudden leave of absence by Sioux athletic director Tom Buning.
Phil Harmeson, UND vice president for general administration, told the Herald on Thursday that he is "legally prohibited from discussing the leave of absence."
Harmeson made his comments in Minot, where he was attending the North Dakota Board of Higher Education meeting Thursday. Harmeson became Buning's boss on July 1. Before that, Buning reported to UND President Charles Kupchella.
"I'm hoping at some point in the future the story will be much more complete," Harmeson said.
So far, the story is incomplete.
Amid speculation that he would be fired or resign, Buning disappeared and was not seen at several UND functions Friday and Saturday during Potato Bowl and Hall of Fame weekend at the school.
Then, the school announced Monday that he was taking a leave of absence, but UND officials wouldn't reveal the reason for the sudden departure. Tuesday, the school said Betty Ralston and Steve Brekke would become co-acting athletic directors while Buning is gone.
Wednesday, the Herald obtained copies of a survey Harmeson had athletic department employees complete called "review of the athletic director."
Buning received low marks. On a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 being the best, the athletic director received an average score of 2.14 on whether his overall performance was outstanding.
Twenty-two of the 45 survey respondents offered comments. Twenty-one of the comments had a negative tone regarding Buning.
The 46-question survey asked coaches and staff whether they strongly agreed or strongly disagreed with a statement regarding the athletic director.
The surveys, which are not standard athletic department practice, were distributed by UND administration earlier this month. They had to be returned by Sept. 12, about the time in which rumors began circulating about Buning's possible departure from the school.
The surveys, which were titled "review of the athletic director," were unsigned, so responses are anonymous except for a check-off box that indicates the person's title.
Herald reporter Joe Marks contributed to this report.