National Invitation Tournament seeks ’96 reimbursement from U

Athletics Director Joel Maturi said the two parties are close to a financial resolution.

Branden Peterson

Almost three years after the National Collegiate Athletic Association penalized the University for a 1999 academic scandal involving the basketball team, the National Invitation Tournament is seeking more than $100,000 from the University, an athletics department official said.

The invitation tournament is for Division I universities and colleges who are not invited to the NCAA basketball tournament.

The NCAA found some of the Gophers players used academic papers written by an athletics department office manager in the 1994-98 seasons.

One of the NCAA penalties voided tournament appearances from 1994-98. The University played in the invitation tournament in 1996 and 1998.

For using players tied to the scandal, the invitation tournament is seeking financial payments from the University for its 1996 appearance.

Athletics Director Joel Maturi met with tournament officials Wednesday in New York to work out an agreement and said the parties are close to a financial resolution of between $100,000 and $200,000.

Liz Eull, senior associate athletics director, said the money going to the invitation tournament will likely come from athletics revenue. The money will not be taken from athletics programs to pay the tournament organization, she said.

Eull said she anticipated the money will come from a reserve fund.

“That’s why you have a reserve,” she said.

Tournament contracts are broken if a team competes with ineligible players, Eull said.

The University was charged $349,600 in damages to the NCAA for the academic scandal, which was paid off last year, Eull said.

The National Invitation Tournament paid the University $37,000 for the 1996 tournament, Eull said.

“They understand our situation,” Maturi said. “Hopefully, we can get something worked out.”

-The Associated Press contributed to this report.