Category Archives: Other

Fact Check! Minnesota’s New AD & VCU’s Practice Facility

October 25, 2012

FACT CHECK: University of Minnesota: New AD Teague Responsible for VCU’s New Basketball Practice Facility

Is this claim factual? No.

How outrageous is this claim? It’s quite ridiculous. At worst it’s intentionally misleading; at best and more likely, it’s a mistake that’s been left uncorrected for a long time.

Without going into further background/private conversations, it’s something the University of Minnesota should finally correct.

According to this Norwood Teague page at www.gophersports.com:
“Known as a visionary leader on many fronts, Teague initiated an extraordinary campaign in the fall of 2011 to construct a $10 million practice facility – the Franklin Street Gym. Today, the practice facility serves both the men’s and women’s basketball programs at VCU, as well as other sports.”

Minnesota wants to talk up their new athletic director. The U stating that Norwood Teague had an “ultra-successful” run as director of athletics at Virginia Commonwealth University doesn’t bother me. Is “ultra-successful” going a bit overboard? Probably, but it’s subjective.

However, when the Gophers claim that there is a new practice facility being used by the VCU basketball programs, it’s either factual or it’s not. In this case, that claim is untrue.

A hot topic that has surrounded Gopher basketball has been the need for a new practice facility. In fact, the former AD at Minnesota took a lot of heat for not getting anywhere with a new facility.

Now, Teague takes over and receives praise for his experience in successfully doing exactly what Minnesota has needed – having a new basketball practice facility built.

The facts are that there is no new practice facility and VCU basketball is still in “a gym commonly known as being musty, old and tattered.”

Now it’s late October 2012 and the new AD at VCU has been trying to lock down a lead gift for the project to get the fundraising started. Two nice gifts are rumored to be close to being pledged, but it could be many years before VCU has a new basketball practice facility.

There have been a number of questionable attributions to Teague by the U of M and some of the press, but let’s stay away from most of those for now and let him do his job. We’ll soon see if he can get some things done in the Twin Cities that are truly deserving of praise.

But please, Minnesota, how about a quick edit on Mr. Teague’s biography page?

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Fact Check! Fran McCaffery’s new contract with Iowa

FACT CHECK: Iowa says men’s head basketball coach Fran McCaffery’s new deal puts him in the upper half of Big Ten Conference with regard to guaranteed compensation.

Is this claim factual? No.

How outrageous is this claim? Not very. Whether a simple mistake or a white lie, we’re talking about Iowa and a coaching contract we actually like. Let’s give them a break (especially after Licklighter).

“The seven-year agreement guarantees McCaffery a minimum average of $1.66 million annually over the length of the contract, beginning with a base salary of $1.3 million in 2012-13. The base salary moves McCaffery to the upper half of the Big Ten Conference in comparison to his colleagues.”

The University of Iowa said in July 2012 that a new deal between the school and head coach Fran McCaffery moves his base salary into the upper half of the Big Ten Conference in comparison to other head coaches. In this context the school is using “base salary” to mean guaranteed pay, but the comparison does not include various incentives that could be earned.

Overall, I like the contract. The school is providing a significant financial incentive for McCaffery to get the team into the NCAA tournament and to do so quickly. However, the claim of their head coach’s guaranteed compensation being in the upper half of the conference is simply untrue.

Specifically, let’s consider the six Big Ten teams who are likely to be preseason picks to finish higher than Iowa this season: Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State and Wisconsin. The head coach of each of those programs earns more guaranteed compensation than McCaffery’s new deal. We could go on (by looking at Purdue’s Matt Painter, for example), but we’re already comfortable stating that McCaffery’s guaranteed compensation remains in the bottom half of the conference and not in the top half as the University of Iowa has claimed.

Original article being fact checked:
Coach’s teams have revitalized the Hawkeye fan base

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Mbakwe Reaches Civil Settlement With Victim, Avoids Jail

October 19, 2012

This morning in Miami, a court handed down penalties to University of Minnesota basketball player Trevor Mbakwe after he violated terms of his probation in a felony battery case. Mbakwe, 23, had been found guilty of felony battery this past February and was facing a wide range of potential punishments in the case after a DUI arrest this summer.

While Mbakwe’s legal cases appear to be sorted out now, whether the NCAA had all relevant information provided to them when they approved a Five-Year Waiver Rule for the star forward remains a question for some.

The most significant development this morning was that prior to criminal court going into session, the civil attorney for the victim of the felony battery was present and met with Mbakwe’s criminal defense attorney.

During the meeting, a confidential civil settlement was reached but the terms were not disclosed to the prosecutor or the criminal court. In return for the promise of what may be a substantial retribution payment to the victim if Mbakwe is an NBA first round draft pick, the victim’s attorney requested that the criminal court limit Mbakwe’s punishment to additional probation.

The 6’8″, 245 power forward figures to get some consideration from NBA teams despite a history of injuries and criminal offenses. LateNightHoops.com projects Mbakwe as a potential second-round draft pick in the 2013 draft.

Probation for Mbakwe was extended and is now scheduled to end in two years instead of this spring and the type of probation was enhanced to require regular reporting.  He is also currently on probation for two Minnesota cases in different counties.

After his September DUI conviction and hearing for a probation violation on a harassment conviction, Mbakwe has been required to attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and see a sports psychologist. The judge in Miami instructed him to continue with both of these requirements and directed Mbakwe to attend at least three AA meetings per week.

In addition, 480 hours of community service were ordered to be performed over the next two years.

The University of Minnesota had not issued a public statement as of the time of this release. It is unclear whether they intend to do so.

Copyright 2012 | PAA, Inc. | All Rights Reserved

LateNightHoops.com

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Minnesota’s Largest Exposure in Mbakwe Mess Still Looming?

Minnesota’s Largest Exposure in Mbakwe Mess Still Looming?
October 18, 2012

University of Minnesota star forward Trevor Mbakwe may receive additional punishment on Friday from a Miami-Dade court related to his felony battery due to a summer probation violation. While the punishment could include jail time and further negatively affect the Minnesota Gophers basketball team, there may be an exposure outside of the courts for the university that is more significant than anything the judge will hand down this week.

My reporting on the felony issue over the years has been met with denial and attacks, but this week, after LateNightHoops.com broke the news of the latest troubles in Miami, people are beginning to understand the history and severity of this matter.

It can be difficult to determine the reasoning of the NCAA when they decide to grant a sixth year of eligibility to a student-athlete, especially when it doesn’t appear that any of the listed criteria for a Five-Year Rule Waiver are met.

With regard to Mbakwe, I had put his chances of being granted a waiver at 2% when he went down at the Old Spice Classic last November. The reasoning for this was that I firmly believed that the felony battery case, which continues to be misreported by most media outlets, would likely end in a plea agreement and a finding of guilt by the court.  It did.

Still, the waiver was granted.

If the felony charge had been dismissed, my view would have been completely different.  Imagine an argument that could have been made by the University:

Mbakwe was falsely accused. It was a case of mistaken identity. We held him out for a year because it was the right thing to do for the school and for him. He was never convicted. Surely this legal issue was no fault of his own and therefore the NCAA should grant him an additional year of eligibility.

This argument may be compelling to a third party such as the NCAA. Technically, this is an argument that could have been made and while misleading, might not contain any blatant lies.

In the state of Florida, a plea of no contest is available and that is what Mbakwe pled in February of this year. A no contest plea is frequently used by defendants in Florida and simply means the defendant does not wish to contest the charges. Before accepting the plea, the court would have made certain Mbakwe knew he was accused of assaulting a young woman and would be found guilty by the court of a second degree felony.

Another practice that is not rare in Florida is for a judge to “withhold adjudication”. This means that while the court finds an individual guilty, he is not “convicted”. This can be beneficial for the defendant in that certain civil rights may be preserved (i.e. voting, right to bear arms. Editor’s Note: Our understanding is that Mbakwe is registered to vote in Minnesota and is considered to be a “convicted felon” under state statutes that cover voter eligibility despite the withhold as long as he remains on probation; therefore, it appears he’s currently unable to legally vote, so the withhold doesn’t have the same benefit as it may if he lived in Florida).

So, was Mbakwe convicted of the felony? No (although he may be this Friday). Was he found guilty? Absolutely.

Now let’s reconsider a possible Minnesota argument if the facts are more clearly laid out to the NCAA:

We held him out for a year because it was the right thing to do for the school and for him. He was later found guilty of felony battery. You should grant him another year since we decided to sit him because of a felony charge that he was ultimately found guilty of.

This argument isn’t so compelling.

Now, I don’t know what the discussions between Minnesota and the NCAA were. I do know that the Five-Year Rule Waiver being granted was very surprising to me and based on the facts at the time (Mbakwe had been found guilty prior to Minnesota’s petition), it brings into question what information was discussed when the NCAA was making their decision.

On course, the argument for a waiver may have been completely unrelated to Minnesota’s decision  to sit Mbakwe in 2009-10.  I doubt it, but I do not know.

If Minnesota’s request for a Five-Year Rule Waiver excluded relevant information, there may be reason for deep concern. The question would then be whether it was a case of ignorance or intentional deception. Neither one would be looked upon favorably.

Copyright 2012 | PAA, Inc. | All Rights Reserved

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Minnesota Star Forward Returns to Miami Court

Minnesota Gopher Star Forward Returns To Miami Court
October 17, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS – University of Minnesota basketball star Trevor Mbakwe was required to make a personal appearance in a Miami court this morning.  The sixth year senior was there to answer to a probation violation after a felony warrant was issued earlier this month.

Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Terry Chavez confirmed that during today’s appearance a probation violation hearing was set for this Friday, October 19, 2012. Per Ms. Chavez, it will be up to the court to sentence him after the hearing on Friday.

According to Minnesota Gophers men’s basketball coach Tubby Smith last Friday, Trevor Mbakwe is “lucky to still be around here.”  Smith’s comments were in response to questions about a July driving under the influence (DUI) arrest and subsequent conviction in September after LateNightHoops.com broke the story early Friday afternoon.

However, it did not appear Friday that Smith knew the status of the Miami felony case. Per @NadineBabu’s Twitter while Ms. Babu was at the team’s media day, “Tubby said he doesn’t know if this DUI has anything to do with violating probation, ask his lawyer.”

In February of this year, Mbakwe was found guilty of second degree felony battery in Miami related to an attack on a young woman in April, 2009. This summer’s DUI in Minnesota was a violation of probation in that felony case.

The DUI also represented a probation violation related to a harassment conviction late in 2011.

While the respective courts have handed down punishments for the DUI conviction and harassment probation violation already, far more serious penalties could be forthcoming this Friday in Florida.

Copyright 2012 | PAA, Inc. | All Rights Reserved
LateNightHoops.com

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Mbakwe May Face Additional Punishment in Miami Felony Case

MINNEAPOLIS — According to Minnesota Gophers men’s basketball coach Tubby Smith, Trevor Mbakwe is “lucky to still be around here.”  Smith’s comments were in response to questions about a DUI arrest this summer.

The DUI arrest triggered probation violations in two other criminal cases, one of which could cause Mbakwe to miss time.

Mbakwe was found guilty of second degree felony battery in Miami this past February and now faces the possibility of additional penalties in that case.

LateNightHoops.com spoke on Friday with Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Terry Chavez who said that Mbakwe “is scheduled to personally appear in our Court to answer to the violation” next Wednesday, October 17.

Ms. Chavez also said that her office did not have an offer to resolve the matter, so it is doubtful that Mbakwe will take a plea on Wednesday.  Therefore, the State Attorney’s Office anticipates that on Wednesday the case will probably have a future date set for a probation violation hearing.

The DUI arrest was made on July 1, 2012 and Mbakwe, 23, pled guilty on September 10, but the university had not disclosed the matter publicly until questions arose after LateNightHoops.com broke the story early Friday afternoon.

Since Mbakwe suffered a season-ending knee injury last winter, he has been found guilty in three separate criminal cases.

Coach Smith did say Mbakwe was initially suspended from all team activities when the DUI incident occurred, but he is now being allowed to participate.  The senior forward took part in the team’s scrimmage Friday night and was moving around well in his first action since undergoing ACL surgery late last December.

Copyright 2012 | PAA, Inc. | All Rights Reserved

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