Attention: The anti-Michael Adams crowd will love this one

Here’s a submission from an unexpected source: The famous Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe loosed a screed against Georgia president Michael Adams on Sunday. Bobby’s point — I’ve known him since 1978, when I was a cub reporter at the Lexington Leader and he’d gotten snowed in on an assignment to write about the Kentucky Wildcats — was that Adams is unfit to be president of the NCAA.

A couple of things here: First, Adams insists he’s not interested in the NCAA, and second, almost nobody believes him. That said, here are the highlights from Bobby’s blast:

Former NCAA president Myles Brand lost a battle with pancreatic cancer last September. A search committee is at work to choose his successor, and while I do not know for sure who should be that person, I have little hesitation in saying that I know who most definitely should not be that individual. That would be Michael Adams, president of the University of Georgia since 1997 and, from all indications, a leading contender for the job.

To say that the Adams reign at Georgia has been controversial is to indulge in vast understatement. Now, the idea of a college president, especially one at a large state university, butting heads with faculty, clashing with the athletics department, or having policy decisions challenged by everyone from politicians to alumni is not uncommon. Some of that almost inherently comes with the territory.

Complicating matters at Georgia is an arrangement where there is a Board of Regents responsible for the running of the entire network of state colleges, as well as an entity known as the UGA Foundation, which oversees investment gifts and pledges, manages investments, and distributes endowment gifts and scholarships, among many functions. Is there inherent office politics? Are there friendships and loyalties? You betcha. Are all the dynamics at the University of Georgia remotely understandable to outsiders such as you and me? Absolutely not.

But here’s something that is easy to comprehend. After being subjected to six years of what its members believed to be serious lapses of judgment and competence, the UGA Foundation engaged prestigious Atlanta law firm King & Spalding to select an independent firm to conduct what is known in the trade as a forensic audit, not of the entire Adams operation, but of seven specific items it believed called into question Adams’s conduct.

Is there more? Oh, yes. Lots.

Start with the idea that he is not really an academic. His doctorate from Ohio State is in political communication. Michael Adams is a spinmeister. He is a clever and ruthless politician. He was once chief of staff to then-Senate Minority Leader Howard Baker. He knows how to amass allies — a power-seeking liquor magnate named Donald Leebern being the most prominent — and he knows how to wield power. He is not a leader. He is a schemer and an intimidator.

And still more:

He pushed out athletic director Vince Dooley, a much-beloved figure in Georgia, a year ahead of schedule and then sold a surprisingly compliant Atlanta Journal-Constitution the entirely misleading premise that it was a matter of Academics vs. Athletics, which was simply not the case. The idea that the newspaper of Ralph McGill would buy into such a phony act is truly sad.

What’s really scary is that the same search firm that delivered him to the University of Georgia is handling the NCAA matter as well. As one Georgia source said, “Don’t ever underestimate Michael Adams.’’

But if the NCAA people want to investigate Adams for themselves, all they need do is pick up a book written by the late Rich Whitt titled, “Behind the Hedges: Big Money and Power Politics at the University of Georgia.’’ (NewSouth Books, Montgomery, Ala.) It’s all there, in exquisite detail.

And here we note — as has been noted before in this space – that the firm in question is Parker Executive Search of Atlanta. And here I must also point out that this newspaper was not “sold” on Adams’ rationale for ousting Dooley. I still bear the memories of a not-entirely-comfortable off-the-record lunch at the Commerce Club convened by Adams in the summer of 2003. (Adams did most of the talking. Shockingly enough, he wasn’t happy with some of the things I’d written.) But let’s get back to Bobby, who’s about to wind it up:

Both [former King & Spalding partner Robert] Miller and [law professor James] Ponsoldt are mystified that the NCAA would even consider Adams as a candidate for its most important job.

“The charges against him all come back to integrity,’’ said Miller.

C’mon, NCAA. Wake up. You can do better than Michael Adams.

Me, I’m guessing Bobby Ryan is about to get an invitation for lunch at the Commerce Club. If I recall, I had the chicken.

199 comments Add your comment

Fed Up With Wren (Again)

March 29th, 2010
1:50 pm

Mark Bradley

March 29th, 2010
1:54 pm

Kudos, Fed Up With Wren (Again).

Vince Dooley

March 29th, 2010
1:55 pm

Fire the SOB!!!!

DTC

March 29th, 2010
1:59 pm

Man, 15 minutes later and I am the second post? Tells you how excited we are to read about the nitwit Adams.

DTC

March 29th, 2010
1:59 pm

lanier

March 29th, 2010
2:00 pm

hope the NCAA gets him because thats the only way we will get rid of him. Besides he looks like a dork with that comb over

Sonny Clusters

March 29th, 2010
2:00 pm

Ralph McGill? Ralph would not approve of how narrow the paper has become. Narow paper, narrow columns, cut and paste. Good thing they still have Bradley.

Mark Bradley

March 29th, 2010
2:03 pm

Thanks, Sonny.

Jaaarvis Hayeeeessss

March 29th, 2010
2:03 pm

somebody needs to throw some doo doo at michael adams

gdawginkalamazoo

March 29th, 2010
2:07 pm

Don’t forget the whole Jim Harrick episode that Adams put UGA through. That was his puppy and it crapped on the entire unitversity. I would have to put that right up there as the main reason the NCAA should not be looking at Mikey.

gdawginkalamazoo

March 29th, 2010
2:08 pm

Thanks for the article Mark. I loved it.

You can pick my name

March 29th, 2010
2:13 pm

I wuess I should go read the Boston Globe for an original column.

You can pick my name

March 29th, 2010
2:14 pm

dammit. I guess

CoastDog

March 29th, 2010
2:16 pm

Run the sleazy scoundrel off before he sells the arches to McDonald’s.

BravesFan79

March 29th, 2010
2:17 pm

Id be in favor for Adams for NCAA pres if he helped force football to go to a playoff system. Till then, college football will always be secondary to the major sports in importance and relevance.

ugaaccountant

March 29th, 2010
2:18 pm

I love NCAA sports. I’d hate to see a corrupt politician heading it up. But I love the University of Georgia much more. As an alumni, I have to hope whole heatedly for Adams to get this new job, so he’ll leave UGA.

Bean Counter

March 29th, 2010
2:19 pm

The only mistake we (UGA) made was hiring Adams in the first place. The only thing he has done for the University is to make it look bad. Fired Dooley, hired Herock, removed tailgating from the sidewalks and road side spaces and now closed North Campus. If he had his way 100% he would close all of the streets at the university and ban cars from the campus. Our University is full of tradition and beauty and he is slowly scheming to get rid of the traditions. I expect to pick up the paper one day and find that the arches have been eliminated and the fence has been extended to reduce access to North Campus. As a member of the Presidents Club I can’t wait until Adams is gone!

chuck

March 29th, 2010
2:20 pm

didn’t Luckovich do a wonderful cartoon with UGA and Michael Adams? Boy I wish someone could post that thing as it fits this article to a ‘T’!

Crossdawg

March 29th, 2010
2:24 pm

Let the NCAA have him. Would be great for UGA.

Adams Must Go

March 29th, 2010
2:24 pm

Adams really wanted that job and lobbied hard for it, but they didn’t want him, since he’s very abrasive and underqualified. He would run the NCAA lower than it already is. Hopefully, he leaves Georgia soon for another job–anywhere—he’s a jerk.

crackbaby

March 29th, 2010
2:25 pm

Enter your comments here

George Foreman 3:16

March 29th, 2010
2:25 pm

It is as it was…

Otto

March 29th, 2010
2:25 pm

While I want Adams out of UGA, Pres of the NCAA would be bad for all of college sports. Can’t he just go to the Ivy League or something?

ugaaccountant

March 29th, 2010
2:26 pm

There are no arches at UGA. There is an Arch, singular. If you’re looking for arches, there is a McDonalds within a few miles of you no matter where you are currently standing.

Smitty

March 29th, 2010
2:26 pm

Adams is a Spinmeister, unethical, self-promoting, political,manipulator. Not that Vince wasn’t clever himself(might have been worth the paycut and loss of influence he would suffer as a Senator) but I don’t trust Adams as far as I can punt him

Dawgwild

March 29th, 2010
2:27 pm

Adams is a tool! I wish Mark that you would tell us exactly what was said at that meeting of the minds. I hope the NCAA gets him so dawg fans don’t have to put up with his BS any more. Adams=TOOL, like TECH=Red headed step child!

crackbaby

March 29th, 2010
2:27 pm

Jim Harrick, Jim Harrick, Jim Harrick. Nuff said.

What for those who don’t remember:
Here is the Basketball 101 exam for the course “taught” by the coaches son.
http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/quiz/_/id/600

Hill Dawg

March 29th, 2010
2:28 pm

I know. Let’s throw a $5,000 graduation party for Adam’s son’s law school class and let the University pay for it. Ah, never mind….. Wait, wait. Let’s give Adam’s wife a job at good Ole UGA. Oh? He did that,too? Can we pay for another house for him? I mean a third one.

dawgstyle

March 29th, 2010
2:28 pm

I learned all I needed to know about Michael Adams’ character ( or lack thereof ) with the way he handled the UGA basketball players when they went to speak with him to get an explanation as to why they were not going to get to play in the tournament. He refused to speak with them and called the police to have them removed.
With that said, we all need to engage in that time-honored practice of making him appear to be the greatest thing that has ever happened to college athletics in an effort to get the NCAA to take him…it’s called pass the trash.

Pulpwood Smith

March 29th, 2010
2:28 pm

Take him away, NCAA, please. This guy is a tool box, and has been since day one. An arrogant, cut-throat politico. I have yet to meet one Alum who likes the man. He still can’t make an announced appearance at a home football game without being booed out of the stadium. “Doctor” Adams is not my fav.

Bryan G.

March 29th, 2010
2:31 pm

I wish Ryan would have shut up and let the NCAA take him.

atldenver

March 29th, 2010
2:31 pm

Does Adams put bleach his hair with peroxide? Man, he is a creepy looking dude.

Vince Dooley

March 29th, 2010
2:32 pm

Thanks Bob Ryan for telling the truth. I have been trying to open the eyes of these people for years about this person.

F-105 Thunderchief

March 29th, 2010
2:35 pm

Is there a pro-Michael Adams crowd? Probably not, you’d need at least three people.

Marlon Barefield

March 29th, 2010
2:36 pm

I’d be the last one to defend “King Mike”…….. but how is it that all the top flight investigative journalists at the AJC can always find negative “stuff” to write about about someone or something at UGA? Meanwhile back at the ranch, on North Avenue, a football player gets suspended for ten games. Exactly, what do you have to do to get suspended for ten games? It would have to be a pretty serious offense wouldn’t it? Inquiring minds need to know, and nobody at the AJC seems interested.

UGA alumni

March 29th, 2010
2:39 pm

Mark Bradley,
You have not done any favors to the Dawgnation with this article. We were hoping that the NCAA would hire Adams away from us just as much as that TechVillage was hoping Hewitt would take the St. John’s job. But your article will help expose the truth about the power hungry, conniving, sneaky, control freak, Dr. Michael Adams, and the NCAA will no longer be interested in hiring him. The result will be Dr. Adams (a.k.a. Blofield from the James Bond movies) will stay at UGA and torment us for many more years.
Thanks for nothing!

Fred Davidson

March 29th, 2010
2:42 pm

Adams has been all about Adamms since he arrived. Two things: He is in charge as UGA President and was in charge during the latter days of AD V D. Dooley had over stayed HIS welcome and now, so has Dr Adams. UGA is better off with BOTH of these men gone.

Dooley truly made his mark as coach and AD. He also was a fine ambassador at large for UGA. A Gentleman he is. They do not make them anymore like VD. Vince was/is also a self promoter but aren’t we all??

Adams? His time has come and gone. UGA can do better. UGA deserves better.

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

March 29th, 2010
2:43 pm

A$$ painting. What did Michael Adams know and when did he know it? A mascot like me needs some friends when the big shots decide to paint a little dog’s a$$ white. There is only one arch on campus and I was tied to it when we were doing mascot tryouts. That was pre-a$$ painting.

Ga.girl

March 29th, 2010
2:44 pm

I haven’t liked Michael Adams since he told me that he would like to make the University a graduate school and let the smaller schools such as Ga. Southern be the undergraduate schools that feed their graudates into UGA. So UGA would have no undergraduates! Can you imagine??

Real Truth

March 29th, 2010
2:45 pm

Dr. Michael Adams is the real person responsible for the Jim Harrick/NCAA probation fiasco. Dr. Adams waived UGA nepotism rules to allow Harrick to hire his son, who then taught the infamous “principles of coaching basketball class.” Dr. Adams then overruled the admissions committee that had denied the admission of Tony Cole on academic and character grounds when asked by his good friend, the now disgraced coach Jim Harrick. Also, Dr. Adams was instrumental in the hiring of his longtime friend and Pepperdine chum, Jim Harrick.

Without Adams, Harrick may have never been hired at UGA to begin with. Without Adams, Tony Cole would not have been admitted into school. And without Adams Jim Harrick could not have hired his son.

duluthdawg

March 29th, 2010
2:46 pm

everyone is questioning adams character. wasn’t Harrick and his son enough evidence of misconduct to oust this dude? what an embarassment to the university. lets hope the ncaa gets him.

Bill

March 29th, 2010
2:48 pm

Gee…all this ’cause the guy wants the goobers to quit trashing the campus?

Wondering

March 29th, 2010
2:50 pm

Didn’t Michael Adams learn his trade under former US Senator Joe McCarthy?

JPDawg

March 29th, 2010
2:50 pm

I’m a UGA Grad – 1984…Add me to the LONG list of people who cannot stand this guy. I have a friend who lives on the same street as Adams, and he says that virtually every day there’s someone driving by Adam’s house, either cursing, or flipping him the finger. The guy is a tool….period. Has never been, is not now, and will never be a Dawg. Please Mikey…..take a job somewhere….ANYWHERE else.

A Question

March 29th, 2010
2:51 pm

Why did Dr. Michael Adams take away the trash receptacles that were once dispensed on campus for tailgaters to use to clean up after tailgating?

Jack

March 29th, 2010
2:53 pm

I don’t know much about that readin’ and writin’ business cause I am a Georgia Dawg fan, not a fan of no college.

That said, take Adams. When he decided I could not pee in the bushes on the North Campus nomore and that I could not set up my mancave on that campus on game day, he got to go!

Jimmy Dizzle

March 29th, 2010
2:53 pm

The most ergregious Adams offense isn’t even mentioned! When he fired Dooley, alumni donations instantly dried up, so Adams cashed out an annuity being paid by a pharma company (the dry eyes formula) that cost the University tens of millions (I recall it being $60 MM) and cost the researcher who invented it something like $12 million. Adams did it under the table, without the UGA researcher’s consent, and made the UGA community think that since they raised so much money that year–that no one cared that Dolley was fired! Adams is a bad guy.

Garry Owen

March 29th, 2010
2:53 pm

Another question for young Harricks outrages basketball exam. What color was George Washington’s white horse? Let Adams go to the NCAA. Maybe he can find another job for Harrick and son.

Matt the Brave

March 29th, 2010
2:56 pm

I know that we are talking sports here, but look at the academic side. Has UGA really become an elite university that a lot of students talk about wanting to go to after high school? Not really. The academic standard has gone up because UGA can be choosy due to the amount of applicants, but it does not mean that the academic standard has truly been raised. And it certainly has not raised to the level of a national university other than football. Adams’ job is not only to work with the department heads and athletic director, it is to improve the standard of the university.

For a good example, look at Betty Siegel or Dan Papp at Kennesaw State. Look at Wayne Clouth at Georgia Tech. Both of these schools have improved greatly academically and in sports. Wish the same could be said at UGA.

It begs to be asked...

March 29th, 2010
2:57 pm

Can you imagine how much evil Dr. Adams could do as head of the NCAA? He’d probably extort very major university athletic program of huge amounts of cash, honorariums, etc. or put them all on probation for trumped up violations. And I bet he’d sell each national championship to the highest bidder.