Coaches support Dienhart in letter

V. Paul

Not knowing can be the hardest part of waiting.
For men’s athletics coaches, not knowing how the University’s academic fraud investigation will affect the future of their boss makes for one long wait.
“The hardest part is having no information,” said Gophers baseball coach John Anderson. “We’re in a period of uncertainty, and whatever happens affects us.”
In a letter delivered to University President Mark Yudof, the coaches expressed support for Men’s Athletics Director Mark Dienhart and two other men’s athletics administrators.
“We’ve all benefited from Mark’s leadership and feel its pros,” Anderson said. “We made that statement sending the letter.”
The job status of Dienhart and McKinley Boston, vice president of Student Development and Athletics, have been in question since the basketball scandal surfaced in March.
Yudof has repeatedly said that personnel changes might be made in the men’s athletics department after the investigative findings are reviewed.
The letter came one day after Yudof, Dienhart and men’s basketball coach Dan Monson announced a series of self-imposed sanctions, including a ban on postseason play and a higher level of self-reporting to the NCAA.
The investigative report is expected to be made public mid-November.
Allegations of academic cheating surfaced after former tutor Jan Gangelhoff admitted she wrote more than 400 academic papers for student athletes.
The allegations prompted an immediate internal investigation, which expanded in May to include allegations that men’s athletics officials intervened in sexual misconduct cases.
Since then, two University officials have lost their jobs: former academic counselor Alonzo Newby and former men’s basketball coach Clem Haskins.
After the University’s $1.5 million buyout of Haskins’ contract in June, Yudof indicated that further personnel changes were on the horizon.
In his June 25 statement, Yudof said that public confidence in the University was eroded by the allegations, warranting a change in leadership.
Nearly four months later at Tuesday’s conference, Yudof continued with that theme.
“I don’t want to presage what will come out in the report, but it’s clear that there are things on the table that are internal disciplinary matters with regard to our personnel and some of the reporting lines,” Yudof said.
Both Boston and Dienhart’s contract with the University will expire in June 2000. Neither have expressed any intention to leave.
“I intend to be here for awhile,” Boston said after Tuesday’s press conference. “Maybe somebody has some other notions, but those are not mine.”
Until both the University’s report is released and the NCAA issues a ruling in the spring — as it is expected to — the extent of the personnel changes will not be known.

V. Paul Virtucio welcomes comments at [email protected]