2nd business professor resigns amid rankings, awards scandal at Univ. of Missouri-Kansas City

A second professor has resigned from the University of Missouri-Kansas City after an audit found that its business school knowingly submitted false data when applying for rankings and awards from national organizations.

The 15,000-student university said Friday that John Norton's exodus as associate director of its Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will take effect March 15.

Norton's former supervisor, Michael Song, stepped down as the institute's director early last year but continued to teach at the school before resigning last week.

Norton told auditors he felt pressured by Song to do improper things related to the ratings but didn't speak up because he feared for his job and believed in Song's vision for the institute.

"I am as passionate as ever about teaching entrepreneurship and innovation to our excellent Bloch School (of management) students, but I have reached the conclusion that my role in events of recent weeks may distract from that mission," Norton was quoted as saying in a statement Friday by the university.

"It's critical to students and the community that this excellent program be able to move forward and continue fostering the growth of entrepreneurship education," he added.

Earlier this month, the Princeton Review announced it was pulling the school's 2011 through 2014 top 25 rankings for graduate and undergraduate entrepreneurship programs.

The university was stripped of its rankings after Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon requested an audit of the school's data because of a Kansas City Star article that called the Henry W. Bloch School of Management's pursuit of higher rankings for its Regnier Institute into question. The 35-page audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers found the business school knowingly submitted false data when applying for rankings and awards from national organizations.

According to the audit, released last month, Norton characterized the information submitted to the Princeton Review as a "misrepresentation," and that data the university was providing to the Princeton Review was "inconsistent."

The school of management's dean, David Donnelly, said in the statement Friday he accepted Norton's resignation, thanked him for his contributions to the university and believed Norton's departure was in the school's best interest.

"John has always worked hard on behalf of our students and was dedicated to their success and to the success of our program," Donnelly said..