Bob Hope Responds to Board of Regents

In the middle of July, Bob Hope organized a protest in Atlanta that called for the ouster of University of Georgia president Michael Adams.

Michael Adams' refusal to grant a contract extension to athletics director Vince Dooley became a huge issue, thanks in part to Hope, who started an anti-Adams Web site as well as petitions that were signed by more than 50,000 people.

On that day, Hope and a few hundred Georgia fans delivered those petitions to the Board of Regents office, and things soon quieted down.

Hope believes the quiet time is over with the release Wednesday of a report on an investigation of Adams' use - and alleged misuse - of UGA Foundation funds.

"They've come to the conclusion either he's guilty as charged or he's the world's worst manager," Hope said Wednesday. "The whole thing'll blow sky high.

"Suddenly, now it goes from being a local story and state-wide story, to a national story."

The UGA Foundation hired auditors from Deloitte & Touche to look into how Adams was spending Foundation money, which is raised through donations and dispensed throughout the university. The Foundation is fund-raising entity independent of the university.

The audit was requested from the Foundation in early July, a month after Adams declined Dooley's request to remain in his position at the university past an agreed-upon retirement date.

Adams' decision became a public relations nightmare for the university. Conclusions by Deloitte & Touche that Adams has misspent money brings all that back.

"From a PR standpoint, this will be a greater national embarrassment to the University of Georgia," he said, "than anything that could've been done quietly to resolve it. When you go public with a fight like this, it's crazy.

"It's incomprehensible to think he can continue on as president of the University of Georgia. I don't think he can possibly be effective."

Hope, who isn't a Georgia graduate, thinks battle lines have been drawn.

"Obviously, warfare has broken out between the foundation and the regents," he said, "and that's not good."

Hope cited part of the Regents' response: "... the Regents reiterate their total and complete support for President Adams and ask the Foundation to close this chapter and now move forward and be about the business of raising private funds for the University. ... The Regents now consider this matter closed."

Hope called that something of a slap in the face.

"My sense was that the process the Foundation went into was a very civil process," he said. "(The Regents' response) tells me the Regents aren't showing any great concern into what went on.

"If that's the case, then that's sad."

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