Reportpoints finger at U

Scandal spread from the men’s basketball team to University faculty Wednesday when a report released by former academic counselor Elayne Donahue accused professors and administrators of fixing athletes’ grades.
Donahue, head of the Academic Counseling and Student Services office until last year, released a 20-page report Tuesday to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The report details how University faculty allowed basketball player Antoine Broxsie to change grading scales in two courses from A-F to pass/fail well after the deadline during fall quarter 1997.
She also alleged that player Kevin Clark was given a B- in a class he did not complete to ensure his continued eligibility. She said coach Clem Haskins gave two basketball tickets to General College teaching assistant Jed Hopkins after he had spoken to Hopkins about former player Voshon Lenard’s academic standing in 1992. Lenard failed anyway.
Donahue could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Ron Zamansky, Haskins’ lawyer, said Haskins still denies all allegations levied against him.
She has not spoken with University investigators about the allegations outlined in her report. She hired attorney Jim Lord, who also represents former counselor Jan Gangelhoff, on Wednesday. Gangelhoff claims she completed more than 400 pieces of coursework for University men’s basketball players from 1993 to 1998.
Lord said he explained to both clients that a possible conflict of interest might arise if at some point the stories of Gangelhoff and Donahue contradict one another.
“Right now our mission is the same,” he said. Lord planned to drive to Donahue’s house Wednesday evening to obtain a copy of her report.
Nina Shepherd, a University spokeswoman, said investigators have made no formal plans to meet with Donahue yet.
Sander Latts — a professor in the General College and former chairman of the Assembly Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics — alleges that professors in the General College knew of some athletes’ questionable work.
“We informally talked amongst ourselves,” Latts said. “But we decided to continue with the status quo. It is bigger than all of us; it’s a big business.”
Murray Jensen, a professor in General College, also alleges he heard some professors were pressured to keep players’ grades up.
Jensen said there is a “very strong rumor” that some professors were pressured. He would not disclose the names of any professors.
“There’s pressure from people who need a boost, who need a favor. But it’s your job to say no,” Jensen said. “It’s your job to say, ‘I can’t do anything now.'”
Many General College professors said they have never heard of problems with athletes, while others vehemently professed problems within the program.
In her report, Donahue said she often received phone calls from faculty voicing concern that players had failed to complete coursework.
At one point in the report, Donahue wrote: “It is clear that the improprieties surrounding the men’s basketball program were done with the knowledge and or support of members of central administration, of men’s athletic administration, of the faculty governance committee, of numerous faculty members and of the players on the basketball team.”
Donahue also reports that she had told her then-supervisor Jim Infante about the academic misconduct. According to the report, Infante did not address the problem.
Infante said he never had any such contact with Donahue, but said she and Haskins did not get along. Haskins, he said, wanted a level of control over the academic counseling that Donahue would not allow.
“I kept insisting that they had to work together or they both were going to fail the students,” Infante said.
— Staff Reporters Sarah McKenzie and Nicole Vulcan contributed to this report.