askins confesses to illegal payoff

by Todd Milbourn

After denying the allegation to investigators on three separate occasions, former men’s basketball coach Clem Haskins now acknowledges that he made a $3,000 payment to Jan Gangelhoff to tutor players in violation of University and NCAA rules.
The admission confirms a conclusion made by the University’s independent investigation team in November that the “only reasonable source” of the payment was Haskins.
Haskins’ acknowledgement came in response to an official NCAA inquiry and was disclosed by University General Counsel Mark Rotenberg at a Tuesday press conference.
The check in question, made out to “cash” and signed by Haskins, was presented to Gangelhoff via Alonzo Newby, former academic counselor, in an unmarked envelope.
Haskins repeatedly denied making the payment. However, after the NCAA obtained his financial records, he acknowledged writing the check.
The revelation indicates Haskins might have entered into a June 1999 $1.5 million contract buyout agreement with the University under false pretenses.
The terms of the buyout state neither party can sue the other. However, University President Mark Yudof has said the University would consider legal recourse if they determine Haskins entered into the agreement fraudulently.
The University has not yet decided whether it will go after the money, Rotenberg said.
Denise Tataryn, an attorney at Mansfield, Tanick and Cohen in Minneapolis, said, “You can void a contract if a party that ascends to it is induced by fraudulent misrepresentation by the other party.”
She added, however, any recourse is dependent on the specific wording of the contract.
Haskins’ attorney Ron Zamansky did not return phone calls Tuesday afternoon.
Rotenberg said Haskins’ admission does not affect the University’s stance that the NCAA should forgo any further sanctions on the men’s basketball program.
The NCAA will, however, take all available information into account, including the confirmed payment.
Yudof will state the University’s case before the NCAA Committee on Infractions at an Aug. 11-12 hearing near Beaver Creek, Colo.
The University contends self-imposed penalties are sufficient. The NCAA is expected to announce any further sanctions by October.