Yudof cleans house

Kristin Gustafson

and Megan Boldt
Betrayal. Over and over, the word permeated nearly every speech and written statement issued Friday by officials embroiled in one of the most embarrassing and costly University athletics scandals.

University President Mark Yudof announced that the contracts of four top men’s athletics administrators will not be renewed. McKinley Boston, vice president of student development and athletics, resigned Friday but will stay on until June 30.
Men’s athletics director Mark Dienhart also tendered his resignation effective Dec. 6.
The changes stemmed from eight months of intense scrutiny revealing widespread corruption within the men’s basketball program, including cash gifts, academic fraud and an untouchable “power coach” who lied to his superiors.
The NCAA might require the University to pay back more than $2 million in revenue from the 1997 Final Four appearance.
To avoid future misconduct, Yudof also announced major organizational changes.
“I’m deeply sorry,” Yudof said. “I apologize for what has happened and what did not happen to prevent this activity.”
Former men’s basketball coach Clem Haskins’ inappropriate involvement with student-athlete’s academic affairs was most troublesome to Yudof.
He justified the $1.5 million contract buyout of Haskins in June, saying the coach’s leadership was “a continuing black eye for the University.”
The report documented multiple cash payments to players and interference with the investigation, but Haskins has repeatedly said he did nothing improper.
“I feel I was lied to to my face,” Yudof said of Haskins’ previous statements.
Haskins issued a statement Friday night through his attorney, Ron Zamansky, contradicting the investigative findings.
“All of the statements I have given to the president and investigators are true, complete and accurate,” Haskins said in the statement. “Any conclusions based on a mischaracterization by the investigators of my own testimony attempting to establish that I knew of the academic fraud is completely outrageous.”
Investigators documented systematic, widespread academic misconduct during Haskins’ last six seasons at the University.
The president also announced structural changes to create a system of checks and balances:
ù Management of intercollegiate athletics will be assigned to Tonya Moten Brown, the president’s chief of staff, beginning Dec. 1. Pending regent approval, Brown will be named vice president of administration.
ù Athletic-academic counseling will be reassigned to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, effective Dec. 1.
ù NCAA and Big Ten athletic compliance will be monitored by the Office of the General Counsel effective Dec. 1.
Moten Brown said a healing and rebuilding process is necessary.
“I am committed to integrating athletics with the rest of the University community,” she said.
Jeff Schemmel, associate athletic director, and Chris Schoemann, NCAA compliance director, will also leave when their contracts expire.

Investigative findings
After eight months of interviewing more than 150 people and reviewing more than 55,000 documents, independent investigators concluded that the men’s basketball team competed with ineligible student-athletes between 1994 and 1999. This means the NCAA could force the University to forfeit games and revenue for the last five years.
Academic misconduct included writing assignments, papers and exams for at least 18 men’s basketball players, who are not identified in the report.
The investigation also concluded Haskins and former academic counselor Alonzo Newby repeatedly manipulated the University’s academic policies and procedures to secure student-athlete eligibility.
In addition, cash payments — sometimes as much as $200 — were made to student-athletes.
Haskins and Newby instructed players to mislead University attorneys when questioned after the allegations surfaced in March.
“This program was corrupt in almost every way one can think about it,” Yudof said Friday. “It became a kind of isolated fiefdom, allowed to operate virtually unchecked.”

A tutor’s tale
A March 1998 Pioneer Press article sparked the University investigation into academic misconduct.
Between 1993 and 1998, academic-counseling office manager Jan Gangelhoff helped prepare more than 400 separate assignments, papers and exams for basketball players, according to the report. At least six other people aided athletes in schoolwork.
Investigators found 38 percent of her files showed work between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the work week, indicating she worked on the athletes’ assignments in plain view of other office workers.
But Gangelhoff said Friday that she only did course work at home on her personal computer or during her lunch break.
“Yes, I knew what I was doing was wrong,” Gangelhoff said. “But I had support for that, so I didn’t consider it a major hindrance to what I was doing.”
Investigators also said Haskins and Newby knew about Gangelhoff’s actions and either permitted or encouraged the behavior.
Instances of offering student-athletes extra benefits, including priority housing and preferential treatment from Student Judicial Affairs, were also documented in the report.

Institutional breakdown
The report also showed lack of institutional control and monitoring over the men’s basketball program in five areas:
ù Failure to assure independence of academic-support program.
ù Failure to adequately manage and resolve operational conflicts.
ù Failure to adequately supervise people providing academic-support services to men’s basketball players.
ù Failure to adhere to Board of Regents’ policies and NCAA principles.
ù Failure to adequately monitor rules, compliance and violations.
The total cost of the investigation is expected to reach $3 million.
Brown will forward the investigative report to the NCAA next week. The athletic association’s infractions committee might announce additional penalties by fall 2000.

— Staff reports contributed to this article.

Kristin Gustafson and Megan Boldt welcome comments at [email protected] and [email protected]