eyond the lawsuit, learning lessons

The long and probably grueling legal process to recover money used to buy out Clem Haskins’ coaching contract last year finally began officially Monday when the University announced it was filing suit against the former men’s basketball coach. The decision, which President Mark Yudof’s administration has intimated it would probably make since as early as late last year, coincides with a Star Tribune report that Jan Gangelhoff, who initiated the present melee by making allegations in the Pioneer Press involving Haskins and academic misconduct, might plead guilty to committing mail fraud, which would allow prosecutors to use her testimony against Haskins and former academic counselor Alonzo Newby.
It is unfortunate that new students must experience the repercussions of past sins, and upper classes be reminded of last year’s unfortunate events, but experience and remember we must, if we are to move beyond the present scandal and avoid repeating the University’s recent history of academic misconduct.
The lawsuit lists six distinct charges against Haskins: fraud, recision, fraudulent inducement, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of employment agreement and unjust enrichment. Although they had some reason to suspect Haskins of misconduct in June 1999 when his $1.5 million contract was bought out, University officials felt they did not have the necessary evidence to make accusations, preferring instead to focus on rebuilding their injured basketball program. Haskins’ admission, however, that he did pay Gangelhoff $3,000 for tutoring purposes — despite repeated past denials — obviously emboldened University investigators and Yudof with the proof needed to implicate the basketball coach in their final investigative report, which they presented to the NCAA last month.
Ironically, Haskins was hired in large part due to his perceived dedication to bringing dignity and integrity back to the basketball program. In 1986, then-men’s basketball coach Jim Dutcher resigned less than 48 hours after three of his players were accused of raping an 18-year-old Madison, Wisc., woman during an away game. As the basketball program’s departmental head, Dutcher says he felt personally responsible for the occurrence
Hopefully, the administrative restructuring of the basketball program will prevent another scandal from happening. If the proper attention is given to last year’s scandal and its revelation of dismal academic integrity in the athletics program, the University will be able to better guarantee all those who choose to learn here walk away with a solid education.