The University of Minnesota decided today to hold its basketball team a Final Four participant in 1997 out of postseason play for one year because of alleged academic cheating in the program.
School president Mark Yudof believes the NCAA will impose more sanctions after it receives the university's final report on the investigation of the basketball program.
An investigation into the program began in March after former tutor Jan Gangelhoff claimed she did more than 400 pieces of course work for at least 20 basketball players from 1993 to 1998.
The investigation has since widened to include accusations of improper payments and travel irregularities, and alleged sexual and other misconduct in the men's athletics department.
"We must demonstrate good faith and take meaningful action to repair the damage that has been done by others," Yudof said.
He said it was a judgment call to impose sanctions that might be harsher than the NCAA's.
"I think we do need to impose sanctions," he said. "I don't hate to do it. It's the right thing to do. The NCAA has to worry about deterrents. I have to worry about deterrents in the future."
NCAA spokeswoman Jane Jankowski said the organization would not comment specifically on whatever sanctions Yudof announces. But she said it is appropriate and common for embattled schools to come up with their own sanctions.
"Universities do frequently hand down their own penalties, and our (investigating) committee considers that and can adopt those sanctions, as well as add other penalties," she said.
Coach Clem Haskins resigned under pressure in June and accepted a $1.5 million buyout of his contract. He has said he had no knowledge of any academic cheating in the basketball program.
Dan Monson of Gonzaga University was hired to replace Haskins.
Yudof said he was trying to help Monson by imposing the sanctions now and trying to move forward.
"I'm trying to make his life a little easier, his interactions with the team, boost morale a little bit," he said.
Monson said the situation has "made some difficult obstacles, but none that I didn't know when I took the job. For the staff and our team, it's the beginning of the end."
Yudof said the university report probably will be completed Nov. 10.
He said he realized some current basketball team members might feel the sanctions are unfair.
Yudof said the self-imposed probation was for an unspecified length of time. He said he believed the Big Ten tournament is part of the regular season.
The NCAA holds a 64-team tournament at the end of every regular season to determine a national champion. The NIT is held for 32 teams that don't qualify for the NCAA tournament.
Minnesota has won the NIT twice and qualified for the NCAA Final Four in 1997.
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