Athletic misconduct not new at University

Megan Boldt

Past athletics scandals seem to have taught the University very little about preventing future mismanagement.
Long before the ongoing academic-fraud investigation erupted on campus this spring, equally serious athletics investigations of corruption and sexual assault — all involving men’s basketball — shook the University during the past 20 years.
One scandal yielded staff resignations and organizational changes similar to those observed during this year’s investigation.
Coach Musselman in the 1970s
Allegations of violations arose in July 1975 when Stanley Kegler, then-vice president of institutional planning and relations, received a letter from the NCAA alleging the men’s athletics program violated more than 100 regulations regarding cash payments and gifts to basketball players.
Shortly after the allegations were announced, Bill Musselman signed with the San Diego Sails and resigned as coach.
“I’m leaving with a clear conscience,” Musselman said at a press conference in San Diego on July 28, 1975. “The (NCAA) investigation is of the University, not of a single individual, and I am no longer a member of the University of Minnesota.”
Later that summer, University President C. Peter Magrath launched the school’s own investigation. The findings found no evidence to support NCAA charges.
“We’ve tried to find an equitable balance between openness and individual civil rights,” said Magrath in a 1975 Daily issue.
The University hired Jim Dutcher as Musselman’s replacement on Aug. 21, 1975. Dutcher signed a five-year contract at $25,000 a year.
Representatives from the University appeared before the NCAA’s infractions committee on Dec. 18, 1975, to submit their completed investigation.
Sexual assault scandal under coach Dutcher
Three men’s basketball players were accused of raping an 18-year-old Madison, Wisc., woman on Jan. 24, 1986, during an away game.
The aftermath brought a swift end to the career of coach Jim Dutcher, who retired within 48 hours of the alleged rape.
Basketball players Mitch Lee, Kevin Smith and George Williams were charged with rape but were acquitted on all counts.
Racial discrimination allegations were leveled against those investigating the three black basketball players.
In a past Daily article, Dutcher said he felt responsible for the incident.
“If you head up a program, you are ultimately responsible,” Dutcher said in the January 1986 article.
Later that spring, some professors accused University President Ken Keller and the Board of Regents of tolerating discrimination against minorities.
Also, Keller appointed a task force similar to the one appointed this year by University President Mark Yudof, designed to ensure athletes graduate on time and that the athletics department is properly supervised in the future.
Task force members’ suggestions included establishing more rigorous academic counseling programs for student-athletes; enforcing a 2.0 student-athlete grade point average; and banning freshman eligibility for football, men’s basketball and hockey.
Luther Darville scandal in 1989
Luther Darville, acting coordinator of the Office of Minority and Special Student Affairs, was fired when an audit showed $200,000 missing from his office in April 1988.
He admitted giving large amounts of money to football and men’s basketball players. Darville was convicted of three counts of theft and sentenced to 18 months in prison.
A faculty and administrative task force called for a greater integration of athletics with the rest of the University, echoing Yudof’s course of action following the academic-fraud scandal.
The 1989 task force surveyed faculty opinion and found more than 80 percent of respondents strongly agreed that men’s athletics controversies embarrass the University.
“Most of the faculty don’t have any idea what we do over here,” said then-men’s athletics director Rick Bay.
Tonya Moten Brown, Yudof’s chief of staff appointed to vice president of administration, will be the chiefly responsible for athletics oversight. She said she wants to eliminate perceptions like those held by Bay.
“We want to erase the perception of us vs. them,” Brown said. “We should all share the same mission.”

Megan Boldt welcomes comments at [email protected] She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3224.