In the Spotlight

News & Features
Haskins May Be Ousted
By Tim Pugmire
June 10, 19999

University of Minnesota officials aren't commenting on the possible buy out of men's basketball coach Clem Haskins' contract. Haskins' program has been under fire since academic fraud allegations surfaced in March, and published reports say talks are underway to negotiate the coach's departure.

UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATORS AND members of the Board of Regents met behind closed doors for an hour and a half, delaying other meetings, to discuss "attorney-client privileged matters." U of M President Mark Yudof emerged from the meeting, refusing to confirm whether Clem Haskins' contract buy out was discussed. He offered only a brief clarification.

Clem Haskins
Yudof: The only thing I've said, and actually the only thing I've said, despite some of the headlines and so forth, is that I've authorized Mr. Rotenberg, our general counsel, to have discussions with Mr. Haskins' three attorneys. Beyond that, I haven't characterized the discussions, the purpose, the length of those discussions, or anything else about them.
University officials launched an investigation of Haskins' program three months ago after allegations of academic fraud surfaced. A former office manager in the academic-counseling unit claimed she completed research papers for 20 players over a five-year period. Allegations followed of improper payments to players.

Haskins has denied any knowledge of wrongdoing. General Counsel Mark Rotenberg says the discussions Yudof authorized are to "review Coach Haskins contract situation." He also refused to describe the nature of his talks with Haskins' attorney, Ron Zamansky.
Rotenberg: We're having ongoing talks and that's all I can say about it. We talk when we need to.

For More Information
See the collection of storieson the cheating scandal compiled by the MPR Newsroom.

It could cost the University of Minnesota more than $1 million to buy out Haskins. Under provisions of a ten-year contract that expires in 2002, Haskins would receive his remaining salary and deferred payments of at least $348,000, even if he's fired. And the amount of the deferred money goes up July 1st. The only way he gets nothing is if he's convicted of a felony in connection with his university duties. Rotenberg would not comment on the expensive contract strings.
Rotenberg: Mr. Zamansky did a great job negotiating it for Coach Haskins, and the coach has a good contract.
Haskins' attorney declined to comment.

University regents also left their private meeting refusing to talk about Clem Haskins or a possible contract buy out. They're standing united behind Yudof as he oversees the academic fraud investigation. Regent Maureen Reed says she thinks the public supports the way the university is handling the matter.
Reed: People are pleased that there is going to be due process and that the facts will be duly considered. And I think that also the folks that have been talking with me understand that an investigation like this isn't complete in a week or a month.
The internal university investigation of the men's basketball program continues. U of M officials expect a report from investigators this fall. A National Collegiate Athletic Association probe is expected to take at least a year.