Morgan State on Tuesday announced the hiring of Edward Scott as its athletic director. Scott is a former college athlete whose experience with NCAA academic and compliance policies will be crucial as he tries to lead the department through a trying period.
Scott previously served as senior associate athletic director at George Washington, where he has worked since last October. He will take over at Morgan State in November for interim athletic director Erlease Wagner. Former Bears athletic director Floyd Kerr retired June 30 after 11 years in the post.
"I am honored and humbled to join Morgan State University as its new director of athletics," Scott said in a release. "My wife, Tara, and I are excited to join the MSU family and for the opportunity to partner with the Baltimore community to make a positive impact on the lives of scholar-athletes at Morgan."
Scott, who oversaw NCAA compliance, educational services, and student-athlete discipline and welfare at George Washington, will inherit a 13-sport athletic department trying to move past related issues in Northeast Baltimore.
Last year, at least 10 Morgan State football players were ruled academically ineligible before the team's season opener after an NCAA review revealed shortcomings in mandated academic requirements. In April, the Bears failed to reach a satisfactory score in the Academic Progress Rate and were one of five NCAA programs barred from postseason play this fall. The ban came less than two years after the team's first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship in 35 years.
Two other teams' APR scores fell short of the NCAA benchmark. The men's basketball team received a reduction in practice time for its low mark, while the men's cross country squad was ruled ineligible for postseason participation this year.
In June, the school reassigned women's basketball coach Donald Beasley to another position at the university over allegations that he had verbally abused his players. Beasley, a Morgan State graduate, denied that he cursed at players and directed slurs at them, and told The Baltimore Sun he was unhappy that school officials did not defend him or give him an opportunity to respond to allegations against him.
Scott's last season in Washington ended with university officials having to answer similar questions. In March, the Colonials men's basketball team — one of two programs for which he served as sport administrator, along with women's lacrosse — won the National Invitational Tournament championship, the first in school history.
In July, The Washington Post reported that several current and former George Washington players had accused coach Mike Lonergan, a former Maryland assistant, of verbal and emotional abuse, with no public consequences. University administrators reportedly met with Lonergan after the 2014-15 season to address the language he used with players, and this season, his first with the team, Scott traveled with the Colonials and attended practices. A player told the Post that Lonergan's demeanor with players was tamer in 2015-16.
The school fired Lonergan on Sept. 17 after internal investigation determined he "engaged in conduct inconsistent with the university's values."
At Morgan State, Scott also will be responsible for considering the feasibility of adding varsity men's and women's lacrosse programs. From 1970 to 1981, Morgan State had the only men's lacrosse program from a historically black college or university. School President David Wilson has said he hopes the school explores restoring the program at the Division I level, a decision applauded by former players but complicated by concerns over costs and Title IX balance.
"I am pleased to welcome Ed Scott to his new home at Morgan State," Wilson said in the release. "He has proven himself successful with athletic programs very similar to Morgan's, and, although we know there are some challenging days ahead, we also know that he is prepared to take the helm of this program and move us toward a better future."
Scott played varsity baseball at Albany, serving for a year as team captain and earning America East Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors. After graduating magna cum laude in 2002, he returned to the school to earn his master's degree in educational administration and policy studies and work in the athletic department.
He moved on to a job as associate director of academic services for student-athletes at Louisville, and then to Binghamton, where he served as senior associate athletic director and divisional diversity officer until September 2015. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in community and public affairs from Binghamton.