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Haskins Must Return $815,000

May 14, 2002|From Staff and Wire Reports

One of the last chapters in the Minnesota men's basketball scandal ended Monday when a judge ruled that former coach Clem Haskins must return $815,000 of his $1.5-million contract buyout.

Hennepin County (Minn.) District Judge Deborah Hedlund accepted an arbitrator's recommendation. Both sides had agreed to let the arbitrator resolve the long-running dispute.

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 players.

Haskins denied involvement. But the university later concluded that he had lied to investigators and committed fraud by taking the buyout, and filed a lawsuit to recover the money.

"I think the key point here is if you lie and cheat the university, you pay," Mark Rotenberg, the university's general counsel, said of the ruling.

Since $425,000 of the buyout was deferred compensation, the award means more than three-quarters of the money the university paid to get rid of Haskins--$1.075 million--will return to the university, Rotenberg said.

The arbitrator, former Hennepin County District Judge Richard Solum, said the $815,000 figure was a compromise, dictated in part by Haskins' financial circumstances. Solum said it fell between the university's last demand and Haskins' last offer.

Solum also wrote that he believed the school could have difficulty proving its case to a jury.

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The remaining two misdemeanor drug and alcohol charges against Texas running back Cedric Benson were dropped after officials at Midland, Texas, decided there wasn't enough evidence.

Benson, 19, and Melanie Robinson, 20, were arrested at his apartment April 27 after police responded to a call about loud music.

Tennis

Andre Agassi withdrew, and Pete Sampras was defeated as the German Open lost two of its biggest stars within hours.

In a letter to organizers, Agassi said his victory Sunday at the Italian Open made him reconsider playing in Germany. His late pullout will cost him a $40,000 fine.

Sampras' drought stretched to 27 tournaments without a title. At Hamburg, he offered little resistance in a 6-3, 6-4 loss to unseeded Max Mirnyi of Belarus.

"I am trying to find my game," Sampras said. "I haven't found it. It's pretty frustrating."

Other upsets included No. 3-seeded Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain falling to countryman Albert Costa, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4; and No. 4 Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia losing to Alex Corretja of Spain, 6-1, 6-2.

Top-seeded Lleyton Hewitt struggled in beating German wild-card entry Philipp Kohlschreiber, 7-5, 6-4; and fifth-seeded Tim Henman beat Nicolas Escude, 6-4, 6-2.

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Mary Pierce and Anna Kournikova, two former top 10 players making their way back from injuries, won first-round matches at the Italian Open.

France's Pierce defeated Marie-Gaiane Mikaelian of Switzerland, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4; and Russia's Kournikova swept Marta Marrero of Spain, 6-3, 6-3.

Meghann Shaughnessy, seeded 10th, lost to Asa Svensson of Sweden, 6-3, 6-3.

Pro Football

Dwight Clark, best known for making "The Catch" for the San Francisco 49ers, is resigning as the Cleveland Browns' director of football operations, clearing the way for Coach Butch Davis to take greater control of personnel decisions.

Clark had been with the Browns since 1999, when they returned to the NFL as an expansion team.

"You'd have to consider this a joint decision," team President Carmen Policy said. "He wants to try something else."

Policy, in Houston at the NFL meetings, said Clark is leaving the Browns to pursue other goals in football and that the shift is not a result of losing a power struggle with Davis.

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Mickey Loomis was promoted from director of football operations to general manager by the New Orleans Saints, four days after the firing of general manager Randy Mueller. Loomis was with Seattle for 15 years before joining the Saints two years ago.

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The latest controversy involving Washington Redskin quarterbacks has been resolved. The jersey numbers of Joe Theismann and Sonny Jurgensen will remain off-limits.

Danny Wuerffel took the practice field wearing No. 17. He had been wearing No. 7--Theismann's number--at previous spring practices, but a debate over whether new quarterback Shane Matthews could take Jurgensen's No. 9 prompted Coach Steve Spurrier to reconsider his policy and declare certain numbers off limits.

Matthews will wear No. 6.

"It's an upside-down nine," Matthews said. "I'd love to be wearing No. 9, but that's in the past.

"I'll just sign my autographs with a six with a line over it."

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Linebacker Tyreo Harrison, a sixth-round selection in last month's NFL draft, signed a three-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.

He was a two-year starter at Notre Dame.

College Basketball

Andre Hazel, a junior point guard who started half of Nevada's basketball games last season, is leaving the team for personal reasons, Wolf Pack Coach Trent Johnson said.

Miscellany

Howard Paster was elected to succeed former Dodger president Peter O'Malley as president of the Little League Foundation, and Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver was appointed a trustee of the foundation.

Paster is the chief executive officer of Hill & Knowlton Inc., and the former director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs.

O'Malley, who held the position since 1991, will remain as a trustee of the foundation.

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