Ineligible players used in '96, '98 tourneys

Updated: October 14, 2003, 8:57 AM ET
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- The University of Minnesota has reached an agreement to return money to the National Invitation Tournament because the Gophers used ineligible players during men's basketball games in 1996 and '98, athletics director Joel Maturi said.

The Gophers generated between $100,000 and $200,000 during those two tournament appearances, Maturi said. The Gophers and the NIT agreed not to divulge the amount of the payback.

``We were able to come to an understanding,'' Maturi said Monday. ``I can't speak for the NIT other than to say I felt it is a tournament with long-standing integrity and tradition. We're moving forward and looking forward to playing in the Preseason NIT next month.''

Minnesota opens the 2003-04 season against Missouri-Kansas City on Nov. 17 at Williams Arena.

Maturi met with the NIT board of directors last Wednesday to state his case on why the Gophers should not have to repay the money earned.

``It's just something the NIT has never done before,'' Maturi said. ``They are not an enforcement organization; that is why we were able to come to an agreement on this matter.''

Minnesota was forced to erase its records from appearing in the 1996 and '98 NIT tournaments because of the academic fraud scandal under former coach Clem Haskins. The Gophers also had to erase NCAA tournament appearances in 1994, '95, '97 and '99 because of the scandal.

The scandal broke in 1999 when Jan Gangelhoff, a former office manager in the men's athletic department's academic counseling unit, disclosed she had written more than 400 papers for Gopher basketball players.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press