UW-Madison’s Office of Legal Affairs and the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics has determined former Badger head coach Bo Ryan did not improperly use university resources over the course of a previously disclosed extramarital affair, and his Dec. 15 retirement was not a result of a university investigation into the allegation, per a Saturday news release.
The Office of Legal Affairs and Athletic Department launched a review last spring into Ryan’s potential inappropriate use of university resources after it received an email Feb. 11, 2015 from a woman claiming be involved in an affair with Ryan, according a Deadspin report. The Wisconsin State journal confirmed with the university Saturday the woman who sent the email is Robin Van Ert of Madison.
Following the review, Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs Raymond Taffora and Deputy Athletic Director Walter Dickey sent Van Ert a letter dated May 13, 2015 detailing the investigative process and claiming its results do “not indicate that Coach Ryan made improper use of University resources.”
The investigation only recently came to public light because of an open records request filed by Deadspin.
The May 13 letter to Van Ert stated “You further indicated that you accompanied Coach Ryan on ‘numerous basketball recruiting trips to stay with him, including Kansas City, Las Vegas, Chicago and Minneapolis,’ and implied that University resources may have been used to cover the expenses on these trips.”
The review found there was not enough evidence available to support those claims.
The university also looked into allegations made by Van Ert in an April 24 meeting that Ryan “generally” treated Van Ert inappropriately. However, the letter from Taffora and Dickey indicated to Van Ert, “During our February 19 and May 4 interviews of Coach Ryan, he denied these allegations. Since you have not offered any further substantiation of your allegations, there is an insufficient basis to warrant any further action at this time.”
Ryan released a statement to ESPN’s Andy Katz Saturday afternoon acknowledging the relationship and the university’s review.
“I made a mistake in my private life and have taken responsibility for my actions,” Ryan said in the release. “I had a relationship with a woman who had no connection to the University of Wisconsin. That relationship ended nearly 1 ½ years ago.
“I revealed this issue openly to the University, and encouraged them to review any activity to assure them that no University resources were misused.”
Ryan also reinforced the notion his Dec. 15 retirement had nothing to do with the affair nor the review.
“My wife Kelly and I believed that the University’s findings concluded this matter. To be clear, this matter was absolutely unrelated to my retirement many months later,” Ryan said in the release. “In fact, I timed my retirement intentionally to assure that Greg Gard got his hard-earned opportunity to coach the University of Wisconsin basketball team.”
The letter from Taffora and Dickey indicates Ryan disclosed the relationship Dec. 2, 2014. Ryan was interviewed by the Athletic Department twice thereafter before the full review began, but denied using university resources over the course of the relationship.
Wisconsin wraps up its 2015-’16 regular season with a visit to Purdue Sunday.