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College Basketball's Tarnished Twenty...


  University of Minnesota

Dan Monson (AP)

The games have been played, the mistakes have been made, the ballots have been cast. Envelope, please.

And the Tarnished Twenty National Champion is . . . Minnesota.

Oh jah, you betcha. Despite all the badness this March, from riots to rape charges to choke-holds by corpulent coaches, one program still stands head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to off-court misconduct. Sure, Michigan and Pittsburgh gave the once-Golden Gophers a run for their money, but when it comes to cheatin', lyin' and payin' people to do it all, no one can top Minnesota. So hand those boys the trophy, and give them all a Bronx cheer.

More than a few citizens of Gopherville remember all too well what the real Final Four is like. Former Coach of the Year Clem Haskins took them there just two short years ago. But Minnesota's hoop dreams came to an abrupt end last March when former tutor Jan Gangelhoff told the world that she'd spent at least four years writing over four hundred papers for twenty different players -- and receiving thousands of dollars in hush money and compensation from Haskins. In short, what they had up there in St. Paul was a well-oiled cheating machine.


Joel Przybilla (AP)

Now, one year, nine fired employees and a slew of self-imposed penalties later, new coach Dan Monson is trying to pull things together and build a new program from a pile of athletic department rubble. It hasn't been easy. He's had to deal with a public, underage alcohol consumption citation for junior co-captain J.B. Bickerstaff (that's player leadership for you) and a rocky relationship with star center Joel Przybilla. When Monson suspended Przybilla for cutting class, the top scorer waved bye-bye to the Gopher program and declared for the NBA draft. Przybilla's untimely departure would have left Monson without a center -- except that junior Kyle Sanden was just finishing up a 17-game suspension for (what else?) academic ineligibility. But Sanden's return couldn't save the struggling Gophers, who finished the season with seven straight losses. Meanwhile, Haskins laughed all the way to the bank, collecting a $1.5 million contract buyout and then jetting down south, where his alma mater, Western Kentucky, had the gall to honor him as a former player and coach.

The Minnesota program is still feeling shock waves from the academic fraud scandal. Four faculty members and 17 former and current players implicated in the cheating scam still await discipline, and the entire campus is biding its time while the NCAA Committee on Infractions investigates allegations of academic impropriety, illegal payments and sexual misconduct. The Committee will meet in June to review the findings. University president Mark Yudof has already taken a tough disciplinary stand, and the school may self-impose scholarship restrictions this spring, but the prognosis for NCAA penalties still looks grim. Indiana Professor Murray Sperber, author of three books about college sports and the NCAA, predicts that Minnesota might lose TV rights for a year, miss next year's Tournament and lose some scholarships -- not to mention a likely loss of revenue and forfeiture of all those wins with ineligible players. The bottom line: the Gophers may lose the victories from their 1997 Final Four season, but they were all but untouchable in the 2000 Felonious Four championship.

Check Out The Stories

From CNN/SI:

Two Minnesota Althetic Officials to be Fired

Coach Denies Charges He Knew About Fraud

Former Minnesota Employee Claims She Did Players' Work

FSU's Janikowski Arrested for Bribery

Clem Haskins' Jersey to be Retired

Przybilla Suspended: Big Ten Player of hte Week Cited for "Academic Thing"

Przybilla Gone: Suspended Center Leaves Team, Will Turn Pro

Nothing Yet: Dad Says Przybilla Will Leave; Minnesota Awaits Word

Przybilla Says Agents Told His Father He'll Be High Pick

'Widespread, Academic Misconduct': Minnesota Investigation Targets 17 Players, 4 Faculty

From ESPN.Com:

Hilltoppers to Retire Haskins' Jersey

Minnesota Suspends Przybilla Indefinitely

Przybilla to Enter NBA Draft

Monson Not Expecting Przybilla to Return

Przybilla Cites Poor Communication with Monson

Gophers Urged To Limit Number of Scholarships

Four Faculty Members Among Those Cited

From CBS Sportsline:

University Panel Recommends Reorganization of Minnesota Athletics

Yodof Said Sanctions Were Necessary to Show University Means Business

Florida State's Janikowski Arrested, Accused of Attempted Bribery

Minnesota Suspends Przybilla Over Academic Performance

Przybilla Reportedly Leaving Minnesota, Will Enter NBA Draft

Parents of Przybilla Say Center's Gophers Career is Over

Minnesota Center Przybilla Tells Local Paper he Will Enter NBA

Gophers Men's Basketball Coach Expects More Self-Sanctions

From the Sporting News:

Gophers' Przybilla Suspended for Academics

Minnesota Center Przybilla Suspended

Monson Doesn't Regret Decision to Suspend Przybilla

Przybilla Ready to Take it to the Next Level

Minnesota Spends $2.2 Million on Investigation

17 Gophers Face Academic Review

Minnesota Basketball Team Improves Grades

Minnesota Basketball Team Improves Grades

From Total College Sports:

Gophers Suspend Przybilla Over Athletics

Gophers Suspend Przybilla Over Academics

Gophers Center Przybilla Plans to Enter NBA Draft

Parents Say Przybilla Won't Return to Gophers

Przybilla's Next Stop: The NBA

Minnesota Coach Expects More Self-Sanctions

From the Star Tribune:

Sanden is Back in Good Standing with Gophers

Bickerstaff Cited on Alcohol Charges Saturday

Gophers Suspend Przybilla

Conflict With Coach leads to Przybilla Leaving

Gophers Crowd Apparently Backs Monson's Decision

Przybilla Discusses Departure

U Investigation Into Fraud, Sex Misconduct Costs Nearly $2.2 Million

Gophers Men's Basketball Coach Expects More Self-Sanctions

A Year Has Passed, But Not The Uncertainty or Scars

Fourteen U Employees, 17 Athletes Named in Cheating Flap

U Grades In; Wrestling, Women's Basketball Flounder

Fourteen U Employees, 17 Athletes Named in Cheating Flap

U Grades In; Wrestling, Women's Basketball Flounder

From the Minnesota Daily:

Sanden Returns After Eligibility Issues

Academic Problems Put Przybilla On Bench

Przybilla Controls Length of His Suspension

Men's Basketball Moves On In Iowa

From the U-Wire:

Academic Problems Put Minnesota's Przybilla on Bench

Przybilla Mum On Rumors That he is Leaving Minnesota for Pros

All's Quiet Between Monson, Przybilla; Minnesota Hits the Road at Bad Time

One Year After Hoops Scandal, U Minnesota Still Waits for Answer

One Year After Hoops Scandal, U. Minnesota Still Awaits NCAA Decision

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

No End in Sight to Gophers' Year of Woe

What Do You Think? Voice Your Opinion on our MESSAGE BOARDS

Straight to the Source

University of Minnesota Basketball Page

CNN/SI Gophers Page

1999-2000 Basketball Schedule

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Tarnished Twenty

Football's Tarnished Twenty: The Creminoles Retain #1

Basketball's Tarnished Twenty: The Felonious Four

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