In the Spotlight

News & Features
NCAA Tackles U of M Basketball Scandal
By Brandt Williams
August 8, 2000
Click for audio RealAudio 3.0

Later this week, University of Minnesota officials, including President Mark Yudof will appear before the NCAA's infraction committee, which is looking into the academic fraud scandal in the men's basketball program. They will try to convince the committee that investigative and punitive steps already taken by the school are adequate and that further action by the NCAA is not necessary.

U OF M COUNSEL MARK ROTENBERG said that when school officials address the committee in Beaver Creek, Colorado, they will present the sanctions already initiated by the school. They include last year's ban on post-season play, a decrease in scholarships and recruiting restrictions. Rotenberg said they will also brief the committee on structural changes which school officials hope will prevent further academic scandals. The structural changes include a rerouting of the chain of command to ensure better administrative oversight of the athletic department.

"The coaching staff is reporting through the athletic directors to a vice president, who is in the president's office, Tanya Moten Brown. And that provides direct leadership through the president's office for the mens' and womens' athletics department," he said.

Since last spring, after the Pioneer Press published, allegations that a university employee wrote papers for several men's basketball players, the U of M has been doing damage control, including initiating its own investigation. Despite the actions already taken by the University of Minnesota, there is a chance that the infractions committee could add penalties. However, Rotenberg said that according to precedents set by other cases, the university's self-imposed sanctions should be enough.