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Ineligible players used in '96, '98 tourneys

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.