It has been a long and arduous search for Northwestern’s next Athletic Director after it was announced in December 2020 that Jim Phillips was accepting a position as the new Commissioner of the ACC, but at long last a decision has been reached. At 2:11 pm CT on Sunday afternoon, Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune followed up on her report from earlier in the day on Northwestern’s AD search by writing that the school is officially promoting Deputy Director of Athletics and External Affairs Mike Polisky to the position.
Update:— Chicago Tribune Sports (@ChicagoSports) May 2, 2021
Northwestern President Morton Schapiro has chosen deputy AD Mike Polisky as the school's new athletic director, sources tell @sryantribune.
An announcement is expected early this week.https://t.co/8Dhw7IhBDT
Polisky first took the position of Deputy Director back in 2010 during which he handled ticket sales and service, marketing, corporate sponsorship, media & public relations, creative services, community relations, fan experience and merchandising teams, as well as Northwestern’s relationship with its media partners, including longtime football and basketball flagship WGN Radio AM-720, according to the official NU Sports website.
The decision certainly has not been met without pushback, as Ryan reported in her piece that several on the search committee were not thrilled to have Polisky named as a replacement due to his being cited in the ongoing sexual harassment lawsuit filed against the school by Northwestern cheerleader Hayden Richardson, which includes his accusation of her fabricating evidence.
Mike Polisky, one of four candidates for the Northwestern AD job (according to @sryantribune), is one of four people cited in the sexual harassment lawsuit filed against the school by Northwestern cheerleader Hayden Richardson. pic.twitter.com/RncEAYhAYa— Lia Assimakopoulos (@Lassimak) May 2, 2021
Specifically, Ryan reported in her piece that “some on the search committee urged caution and some were against hiring Polisky” due to his involvement in the lawsuit.
Earlier in the day, it was reported that Polisky was among the four candidates that the committee had recommended for the position along with Anucha Browne, Nina King and Janna Blais.
Though it’s important to note this section from Ryan’s report, stating that “the decision on the athletic director by Schapiro — who will conclude his nearly 13-year tenure Aug. 31, 2022 — has been closed-door and without much transparency or continued communication with some members of the search committee.”
Additionally, Polisky was mentioned by former Northwestern basketball player Johnnie Vassar in a 2017 piece with Vice and former Inside NU Editor-in-Chief Kevin Trahan, claiming that the Deputy Director played a large part in his being run off the team and needing to take a job as a janitor to keep his scholarship.
Polisky also helped orchestrate the runoff of Johnnie Vassar, forcing him to be a janitor in order to keep his scholarship. Their goal was to free up a scholarship to be used for someone else. https://t.co/59Q0DskrmP https://t.co/EcPBlQR7V8 pic.twitter.com/kY3w7H2CUi— Kevin Trahan (@k_trahan) May 2, 2021
Prior to serving as the Deputy Director of Athletics for Northwestern, Polisky served as the president and general manger of the Arena Football League’s Chicago Rush.