Saturday, December 21, 2002

Men's golf investigated at Minnesota

The Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS - The University of Minnesota is investigating whether members of the men's golf team received extra benefits in possible violation of NCAA rules.

The allegations of free travel, rounds of golf and equipment were included in a letter athletic director Joel Maturi received Monday from a person who identified himself as a former Gophers golfer.

"We've been looking at allegations similar to those contained in the letter for a while," said Mark Rotenberg, the university's general counsel. "To date, we don't have any confirmation that supports the claims of violations in the program, but we are thoroughly examining these allegations."

Minnesota is already on probation through 2006 for rule-breaking under former women's basketball coach Cheryl Littlejohn and former men's basketball coach Clem Haskins.

Rotenberg said he didn't want to speculate on whether the latest incident with the golf team could subject the university to more punishment from the NCAA.

Phone calls to the NCAA on Thursday weren't returned.

The Gophers' men won the school's first NCAA golf title last spring and is in the midst of a fund-raising campaign to avoid elimination because of budget cuts.

The letter to Maturi contained 10 allegations, including players taking their clubs and other equipment when they left the program, players selling equipment that belonged to the university and coach Brad James playing in tournaments with recruited junior players.

James was in Australia and could not be reached for comment.

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