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The Joel Nielsen era at Kent State is over
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DavidCarducci Offline
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The Joel Nielsen era at Kent State is over
Expect a press release from Kent State University within the next half hour.

Kent State Athletics staff informed in a phone call today at 1:45 pm.

Let the healing begin!
(This post was last modified: 01-14-2021 01:54 PM by DavidCarducci.)
01-14-2021 01:53 PM
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DavidCarducci Offline
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RE: The Joel Nielsen era at Kent State is over
Joel opened the call with Kent State Athletics staff by saying he would not be seeking an extension of the contract which ends in June.

That's an easy decision for him to make considering Kent State had already decided it would not be offering him an extension. I'm hearing he will be "on call" until June, which basically means he will be reassigned and called in if needed. What that has meant in the past is, "hey, we can't find the paper clips, can you tell us where you have them stored."

I'm told Kent State President Todd Diacon told staff that Nielsen leaves Kent State in a better place. I'm sure he means that Nielsen made the department better in his decade as AD. Based on the celebration of staff at KSU, the reality is that Kent State is NOW a better place because he is leaving.

Good riddance Joel. You will be missed by only a select few.

Now get ready for the press release with glowing quotes about Joel. If he was so great, they'd try to keep him.
(This post was last modified: 01-14-2021 02:09 PM by DavidCarducci.)
01-14-2021 02:01 PM
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JimJoyce Offline
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RE: The Joel Nielsen era at Kent State is over
This move is being made ohhhhh just about 10 years too late.
01-14-2021 02:31 PM
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DavidCarducci Offline
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RE: The Joel Nielsen era at Kent State is over
(01-14-2021 02:31 PM)JimJoyce Wrote:  This move is being made ohhhhh just about 10 years too late.

Absolutely!
01-14-2021 02:39 PM
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JimJoyce Offline
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RE: The Joel Nielsen era at Kent State is over
Just read the release by Eric Mansfield. You talk about a guy who is completely out of touch. But then again he’s also the same guy who bragged on social media about getting a promotion at KSU while hundreds others were being terminated.

Again, that would have been a great job for Dave Carducci. But a persistent lack of vision within the university prevented that.

My question from months ago remains the same - you KNEW you weren’t renewing Nielsen for several months. And yet you still allowed him to shape the face of the department by firing and terminating people at will? What the hell sense did that make?
01-14-2021 02:48 PM
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burden Offline
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RE: The Joel Nielsen era at Kent State is over
I know it sounds less than ideal but who would understand the Department better. Would you really want the President to do it? I know everyone here has fired Nielsen but he hasn’t been fired. For all we know the President thinks he’s done a good job. He wouldn’t be the first boss who is considered competent but treats people poorly. If they replace him with somebody who makes $200,000 less that saves a few jobs. That’s a good thing.
01-14-2021 09:13 PM
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Polish Hammer Offline
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RE: The Joel Nielsen era at Kent State is over
04-cheers
01-14-2021 09:27 PM
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thanksjim Offline
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RE: The Joel Nielsen era at Kent State is over
My mom told me if I don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all.....but this is awesome! It's like I can feel the exhale going on in the athletic department!
01-14-2021 10:52 PM
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Slinkin Street Flash Offline
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RE: The Joel Nielsen era at Kent State is over
(01-14-2021 02:01 PM)DavidCarducci Wrote:  <snip>
I'm told Kent State President Todd Diacon told staff that Nielsen leaves Kent State in a better place. <snip>

A better place? It's not in Kent, Ohio any more?

And so the most overpaid AD in the MAC gets to draw a salary for 6 more months without doing anything?
01-15-2021 08:04 AM
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KSUforever Offline
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RE: The Joel Nielsen era at Kent State is over
I had a toast to his release! I have never felt this jubilant with a person getting released but I do not care. He can take his 400k and hit the door. He really has not been around in months.Much like President 45 he is leaving in disgrace with his department in upheaval. Hopefully, we can find a person to turn the department around. My checking account is ready to give again.
01-15-2021 08:35 AM
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GoFlashes8 Offline
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RE: The Joel Nielsen era at Kent State is over
Yes, it will be interesting to see who they hire (it will be outside of KSU Athletic Department). I know a few people who have worked or currently still do work in the KSU Athletic Department and they felt they like were always walking on pins/needles in the presence of JN. It was a very weird place/time within KSU Athletic Department during Bev Warren's time as President and Joel Nielsen's time as KSU AD. There were some highlights/successes during that era for sure, but Bev Warren was very difficult to work for and absolutely awful to support staff in the President's office and within the KSU Athletic Department. Although Bev Warren did make KSU Athletics a priority, I hear that is not the case with President Diacon.

Here are some of the painful memories of Joel Nielsen's tenure (I am sure there are many others that are not popping into my head):
-Handling of Geno Ford contract
-Karen Linder and her son with sexual abuse
-Overall treatment of women (see the latest example with the quiet departure of the KSU Field Hockey head coach)
-His wife overstepped her boundaries on numerous occasions and tried to run the KSU Women's Golf program as well as the entire athletic department.
-Handling/treatment of Mike Morrow

I have heard that a lot of donors have held funds back the last few years until Nielsen was gone.

This is a crazy time in college athletics with the gap growing between the haves and the have nots (some of the gap due to COVID but others were already in progress or in place). It will be interesting to see how the entire MAC does the rest of this year and the next few years. I hear Akron is in real trouble, much worse off than KSU, from an athletic department standpoint and overall University finances. Akron's athletic department is a ghost town compared to this summer in reference to # of employees and support staff.
01-15-2021 11:35 AM
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ksu315 Offline
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RE: The Joel Nielsen era at Kent State is over
My .02 cents. Joel (and Sharon) have always treated my family extremely well and i actually liked talking with him. As for how he was as a boss or a dept lead i cant speak to that. But i do think alot of this venom towards him on here may be over the top and from certain people with agendas very wrong. Keep in mind.

- Regardless if you're paid 400k, 200k or you do it pro bono being an AD in the MAC is an incredibly difficult job. From tight extremely tight budgets, to trying to keep consistent winners when any time you have success in football and basketball your coach leaves. Also your donor base and athletic history of most MAC institutions its extremely hard to raise capital to try and keep up with the Jones (the power 5)

- Imagine trying to have to raise money every time you want to get a new initiative going or build a new facility. Joel crushed his predecessor in that dept. But imagine having to constantly ask that small group for $$$ year after year time after time. And the expectation is those donors want to be loved and you as AD need to stroke those egos. That's hard to do with limited time and people to do it. I know very few people who could pull that off and not offend people.

- Lastly be careful what you wish for. Not guaranteed that the new AD making in the 200k range will be any better or more effective with said challenges above. Ok Dave will say the people in MAC center's morale will go up and they wont be scared daily but how is that going to translate to coaches salaries, keeping coaches and building facilities.

Thank you Joel and Go Flashes.
01-15-2021 01:34 PM
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DavidCarducci Offline
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RE: The Joel Nielsen era at Kent State is over
(01-15-2021 01:34 PM)ksu315 Wrote:  My .02 cents. Joel (and Sharon) have always treated my family extremely well and i actually liked talking with him. As for how he was as a boss or a dept lead i cant speak to that. But i do think alot of this venom towards him on here may be over the top and from certain people with agendas very wrong. Keep in mind.

- Regardless if you're paid 400k, 200k or you do it pro bono being an AD in the MAC is an incredibly difficult job. From tight extremely tight budgets, to trying to keep consistent winners when any time you have success in football and basketball your coach leaves. Also your donor base and athletic history of most MAC institutions its extremely hard to raise capital to try and keep up with the Jones (the power 5)

- Imagine trying to have to raise money every time you want to get a new initiative going or build a new facility. Joel crushed his predecessor in that dept. But imagine having to constantly ask that small group for $$$ year after year time after time. And the expectation is those donors want to be loved and you as AD need to stroke those egos. That's hard to do with limited time and people to do it. I know very few people who could pull that off and not offend people.

- Lastly be careful what you wish for. Not guaranteed that the new AD making in the 200k range will be any better or more effective with said challenges above. Ok Dave will say the people in MAC center's morale will go up and they wont be scared daily but how is that going to translate to coaches salaries, keeping coaches and building facilities.

Thank you Joel and Go Flashes.

Hi ksu315,

I'm sorry you think I am wrong (assuming you mean me since you mentioned me at the end of your post). It is absolutely fair to say that you think Joel is a better athletic director than what I give him credit.

I see very little positive to come from Joel's tenure other than that he maintained some of what Laing built and academics improved. That's my opinion, and you absolutely can argue the opposite.

I also respect the fact that you had a good relationship with Joel. I'm happy for you. I'm glad some people did.

I do think it is unfair, however, to say that I have an agenda. My only agenda has always been for Kent State Athletics to be a better place. I left of my own accord. I got fed up with the way the department was being run, and I quit. I don't benefit in any way from Joel being gone other than knowing that the people and teams I care about will be treated better, and that the department will have a chance to put that money to better use.

I've always said that Joel treated me fine. He wasn't horrible to me. How I saw him treat others (mostly women) led me to my breaking point... along with what i believed to be his mismanagement of the department and its resources.

He's gone. I'm happy about it. But I don't benefit in any way, so there's no agenda other than seeing someone I believe to be a bad man leave a place that I have cared about since my earliest memories as a child growing up in the 1970s.

The good thing is that the university believed us. More importantly, the university believed its current staff, and the president acted. I've read the newest climate study. With so many people gone since the 2017 study, the results were still miserable, calling out Joel by name for his treatment of others. The university made the decision all the way back in August to not renew Joel. To their credit of university leaders, they chose to give him an opportunity to save face, likely to help him find another job. So far, I've heard that hasn't been easy for him. Word gets around, and it is the testimony of former coaches, administrators, MAC officials, and leaders at other schools who have helped to tell the story of Joel Nielsen. Hopefully you will start to hear the stories that they were previously afraid to tell for fear of retribution. Maybe when that happens, you'll change your mind.
(This post was last modified: 01-15-2021 03:04 PM by DavidCarducci.)
01-15-2021 02:48 PM
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ksu315 Offline
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RE: The Joel Nielsen era at Kent State is over
You created a website and a group to have him removed. How is that not an agenda??
01-15-2021 04:01 PM
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JimJoyce Offline
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RE: The Joel Nielsen era at Kent State is over
(01-15-2021 01:34 PM)ksu315 Wrote:  My .02 cents...As for how he was as a boss or a dept lead i cant speak to that.

Then maybe keep your two cents in your pocket because you have zero clue what it was like to work for the guy for 11 years. None. You know the glad-handing politician side of him. Of course he treated you well, he wanted your freaking money. Are people that easily fooled today?

Bottom line is this. You don’t need to be a marketing genius, a fundraising guru or coaching talent expert to not be an a$$ hole. Just don’t be one. Doesn’t take much effort.

He still couldn’t do it.
(This post was last modified: 01-15-2021 06:09 PM by JimJoyce.)
01-15-2021 06:07 PM
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DavidCarducci Offline
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RE: The Joel Nielsen era at Kent State is over
(01-15-2021 04:01 PM)ksu315 Wrote:  You created a website and a group to have him removed. How is that not an agenda??

When someone accuses you of having an agenda in a negative way, as you appeared to do in your post ("But i do think alot of this venom towards him on here may be over the top and from certain people with agendas very wrong. Keep in mind."), the implication is that you have a hidden agenda or hidden purpose.

That agenda could be revenge. It can be financial or personal gain.

Members of our group chose to come forward to the media as whistleblowers, to request action by the president, and then started the website with a transparent purpose because we believed Nielsen should be removed. We were transparent in providing the reasons we believed Nielsen should be removed. Should he not have been removed, based on ROI vs his performance as AD, we asked that Nielsen not receive an extension when his contract expired in 2021.

Choosing not to extend Joel is what happened.

There was no hidden agenda within our group. No sinister motive. In my case, my only benefit in Nielsen being pushed out is seeing a place I truly love, as well as people and teams I care about, get the chance for a new beginning and an end to the current toxic environment.

Had you meant "agenda" at its base definition of following a plan, you can certainly say we had an agenda in wanting Nielsen to be removed.

Keep in mind, that while you claim we were wrong, nobody has ever challenged any of the claims we made on the website in asking for Nielsen's removal. If we had been even a tiny bit less than truthful, we would have been hit with a libel suit, or at the ery least a case and desist order. Of course, the best defense for libel is the truth, and we have documents and witnesses to back up every claim.

Based on that, I don't believe you can credibly say the claims we made were wrong. You can absolutely have the opinion that the incidents we cite as well Nielsen's performance were not worthy of his removal as AD. You can also be of the opinion that protecting a known sexual harasser, being less than truthful in an HR investigation, and discriminatory practices against women, minorities and others, are no big deal. We don't agree, which is fine. I'm proud to be on our side with regard to those matters.

As I mentioned before, Joel never really mistreated me. In fact, he was good for my career. He hired me away from a dying profession in the newspaper business, for which I am grateful. I benefitted from being from that hire beyond having a new job, taking advantage of the opportunity to earn a master's degree through my work at Kent State. That training allowed me to propel myself into an entirely new career which I love.

While I am grateful for the opportunities created by Joel hiring me, I am not a person who will offer anyone blind loyalty. I was a witness to what horrible mistreatment of others. And like everyone else who worked for Joel, I witnessed his mismanagement of KSU Athletics first hand.

I'm glad Kent State chose not to renew Joel. I hold no grudge and don't care what happens to him next. I just look forward to seeing what is in store next for the Golden Flashes.
01-15-2021 07:27 PM
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DavidCarducci Offline
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RE: The Joel Nielsen era at Kent State is over
(01-15-2021 06:07 PM)JimJoyce Wrote:  
(01-15-2021 01:34 PM)ksu315 Wrote:  My .02 cents...As for how he was as a boss or a dept lead i cant speak to that.

Then maybe keep your two cents in your pocket because you have zero clue what it was like to work for the guy for 11 years. None. You know the glad-handing politician side of him. Of course he treated you well, he wanted your freaking money. Are people that easily fooled today?

Bottom line is this. You don’t need to be a marketing genius, a fundraising guru or coaching talent expert to not be an a$$ hole. Just don’t be one. Doesn’t take much effort.

He still couldn’t do it.

Right on! Very well said Jim... And in far fewer words than my bloviating response, haha!
01-15-2021 07:28 PM
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bopol Offline
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RE: The Joel Nielsen era at Kent State is over
I think it's okay for different posters to have different opinions on this and I would hope every poster here feels that way as well.
01-15-2021 09:31 PM
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Albert Flasher Online
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RE: The Joel Nielsen era at Kent State is over
I am looking forward to a new AD to bring more energy, accountability, & transparency to KSU athletics. No denying the accomplishments during the tenure of JN, but I believe it is in the bettter interest of both parties to move on.

As stated, securing the right candidate will be the challenge.

#GoFlashes
01-15-2021 09:39 PM
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DavidCarducci Offline
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RE: The Joel Nielsen era at Kent State is over
(01-15-2021 09:39 PM)Albert Flasher Wrote:  I am looking forward to a new AD to bring more energy, accountability, & transparency to KSU athletics. No denying the accomplishments during the tenure of JN, but I believe it is in the bettter interest of both parties to move on.

As stated, securing the right candidate will be the challenge.

#GoFlashes

I agree Albert. And I've already heard some good names in talking with some reporters and contacts at Kent State. Some will be familiar. Some are from outside the Kent State family, and some who have passed through Kent before. One name in particular makes a whole lot of sense, especially with Carr Sports heading up the search. While he is not part of Kent State's extended "family," he knows the area, has had success as a mid-major athletic director, would bring significant experience from multiple power-5 conference schools, has a marketing background that would be extremely valuable, and has been very much on the radar of the search firm for some time for other AD positions. He landed his previous AD job after a search led by Carr Sports. If he is interested, he would be a home run.

Look for Allen Moff to have a story soon on some possible candidates. I know he has been doing his research and talking to his sources to find some connections and ties to names hat make sense.
(This post was last modified: 01-15-2021 10:16 PM by DavidCarducci.)
01-15-2021 10:10 PM
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