Haskins announces plans to finish contract, defends program

Gophers men’s basketball coach Clem Haskins expressed regret Monday that academic fraud allegations have tarnished the University’s reputation.
Haskins made the comments during an interview with WCCO radio host Dark Star, his first such interview since the allegations surfaced in April. Jan Gangelhoff, a former tutor, admitted in April she completed course work for several men’s basketball players from 1993 to 1998.
“It affects all of us,” Haskins said. “It’s not only basketball, but it affects the whole community, the whole University, and I’m really, really sorry for this. That’s why I’m indebted to stay here, to get through this.”
The coach has made statements through his attorney, but had declined previously to grant interviews centered around the scandal.
Although Haskins said he was sorry about the investigation, he denied any wrongdoing during the radio interview.
“We’re running a clean basketball program,” Haskins said.
Haskins has been accused of making payments to former player Russ Archambault in possible violation of NCAA rules.
Although he declined to directly address the allegations, when asked if he was involved in any of the alleged impropriety, he said: “Well, you know, the thing is, I don’t want to get into that at all … in my mind, no.”
Haskins said he has no plans to resign and will finish out his coaching contract, which lasts for another three or four years.
He said he has been personally hurt by the investigation, but added that allegations will not permanently scar the institution.
The scandal is “something that will pass,” Haskins said, citing other troubles like the O.J. Simpson trial and President Clinton crisis that have since fallen out of the national limelight.
Haskins has yet to be interviewed by the investigators. The team of investigators has interviewed roughly half of the 120 potential witnesses. The investigation is expected to last until September.

— This story was compiled from wire reports.