The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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December 5, 2012

Hoffner's union working to get him reinstated


If the university decides it needs to take more serious disciplinary action, such as termination, Hoffner would be offered an opportunity to meet with school officials prior to that decision to offer his own argument against it. If after that, he's still not reinstated, he can file a grievance, which would be resolved in an arbitration hearing conducted by the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services.

"I guess the question is whether or not they have good, objective grounds to terminate him," said Steve Befort, professor at the University of Minnesota's Law School. "Clearly the fact that he's not being prosecuted undercuts that a little bit."

Befort said it's not unusual that the university would have put its own investigation on hold, pending the criminal proceedings. That means the delay between the court ruling and the outcome of the university's investigation might not be surprising.

In the meantime, Hoffner has said he is eager to return to his coaching position.

The Mankato State football team advanced to the national semifinals in the NCAA Division II last weekend and will play Saturday in Mankato. But Hoffner cannot attend the game because he's not been cleared by the university.

"He's a football coach, he's a good football coach," said Jim Fleming, Hoffner's defense attorney. "It's very hard to watch a team that you have built and developed, and the players that you have recruited, and watch them go through the success and you're not able to be a part of that. I think that would be difficult for anyone."

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