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The Big 10 Train Wreck

Well it looks as if the death watch in Minnesota is under way, as a check signed by Clem
Haskins and written out to Jan Gangelhoff
has turned up. Gangelhoff, the
tutor who kicked all this off, says it was to cover a trip to Hawaii with the team.
She claims Haskins said she'd owe him for the rest of her life.

Meanwhile, there is also an investigation into trips taken
by University police officers
and whether they were inappropriate. (Former)
Detective Larry Anderson, who investigated two players for sexual assault, which you'll
remember was allegedly hushed up (in another aspect of the investigation), in what would
seem to be a conflict of interest. 11 women have
made allegations
of sexual abuse against football and basketball players, according to
the Star-Tribune. Former Chief Joy Rikala also traveled on the U's dime (apparently).

Now the media is starting to speculate on who will
be the next coach
. Haskins, who is recovering from knee replacement surgery, had
no comment on the latest developments, but the board
of Regents met behind closed doors yesterday
and one can safely assume that at least
some of them have had enough. Politicians are now calling for Haskin's resignation,
and are taking stands on how much money he should get when he finally is canned.

On the
Star-Trib's bulletin board
, one guy claims that Haskin's attorneys warned him about
what he could post on the site. The official host quickly changed the subject.

This is a very difficult situation for Minnesota. It seems clear that pressure is
building to dump Haskins, and if they do that, they face a number of obstacles and
requirements. For one, they have to get a coach with a sterling reputation. For
another, given the charges of racism and so forth, hiring another black coach might be
advisable. They'd need one that was above reproach and available. We can think of
two, one head coach and one assistant, who might fill their needs. John Thompson and Phil

Meanwhile down in Bloomington, Bob Knight is in hot water again, this time for an
altercation which happened in a parking lot after he allegedly choked a man who
accused him of making racist statements (maybe he's just trying to keep up with his team
which has choked a lot over the last few years). In our Crime Beat section, we said
that no one could corroborate it (yet), but the chokee, Chris Foster, was eating with a
friend who backs him up. However, the other people in the restaurant seem
disinclined to support Mr. Foster. We don't know if Knight made any racist comments,
but we do recall reading an article in SI a while back which said essentially the same
thing he was accused of saying, that young black NBA players had to deal with a lot of
people asking them for money. It's probably true for young white players too, and all
lotto winners everywhere. So while we don't know what happened, we are pretty
certain that Bob Knight has spent a lot more time with black people than Mr. Foster has
for whatever it's worth. It's not that that would preclude racism from his character (and
we're not suggesting it's there, either, we just don't know), but he's almost certainly
helped more poor blacks out of poverty than Mr. Foster has, and keeping Isiah Thomas
from listening to his brothers, or maybe it was just advisors, who, if we recall
correctly, were suggesting that Thomas ask for money, should earn him some credit.
Knight's reaction was predictably vulgar but fairly noble - he told Isaiah that they were
going to ruin his @#$! life, that he wouldn't have anything to do with it, and stormed

Meanwhile, as we have discussed previously, the FBI
investigation into Ed Martin
, the Michigan booster who allegedly made payments to
players as far back as the Fab 5, continues, and we remind you that, unlike the NCAA,
they have subpoena power. If it turns out that Webber et. al, and Traylor and
Bullock took mullah, to the alleged tune of six figures in some cases, and didn't report
it, the IRS will be in there to prosecute for tax fraud. We predicted tax fraud a while
back, but we said it would happen to an AAU coach. We weren't smart enough to suggest a

Meanwhile, in East Lansing, Mateen Cleaves, the Spartan's brilliant PG, has
been arrrested for misdemeanor larceny.
And let's not forgt the footballers. MSU
tailback Little John Flowers got busted for throwing bones and resisting arrest,
and fullback Bill Green was also arrested for rioting after the Devils downed MSU in the
Final Four, and also charged with a misdemeanor pot possession charge. His attorney
says he actually put out a fire during the riot and the pot was just a roach in his

And while it's over and done, even little Northwestern had a major point shaving
scandal recently.

So just to total it up: Minnesota and Michigan are enmeshed in major scandals.
Indiana's coach, a legendary hothead, is liable to be arrested again and the chances for a
civil suit are excellent. Michigan State's star player and the soul of their team
allegedly ripped off a store. And Northwestern endangered the integrity of the game. The
only thing preventing it from being a devastating scandal was, well, it was Northwestern.
Wisconsin's offense is a scandal in and of itself, but for this discussion it
doesn't count.

So almost half of the conference has fairly serious problems to deal with, and criminal
charges are, or may be, pending in a number of cases. Normally the SEC is the
conference which produces snickers, but this summer, the Big 10 is, without question, the
biggest mess in college basketball. Every conference has an embarrassment
periodically, but this is ridiculous.