The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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April 23, 2014

Latest: Legislative auditor will review Hoffner firing

Legislator asks how MnSCU came up with "horrible" conclusion

Due to requests by various parties, including state legislators, the events surrounding the termination of Minnesota State University Head Coach Todd Hoffner will be specially reviewed by the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor.

James R. Nobles, legislative auditor, said his office will begin this week conducting a preliminary review of the events surrounding the suspension, termination and eventual reinstatement of Hoffner. Nobles said he and a team of two others will comb through materials from the arbitration in Hoffner's case and other background material from MSU and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System to determine whether the office should move forward with a full review.

“I think the main consideration in that is, 'Can we really (answer) the questions that have been raised, and can we add value to what already is known?'” Nobles said.

A child pornography investigation began in August of 2012 against Hoffner, stemming from videos found of his naked children on his university-issued phone. He was arrested and charged, but the charges were dismissed by a judge in November of that year.

Hoffner did not get his coaching job back, but rather was reassigned to a newly created position in the athletic department and then fired in May of 2013. The case went to arbitration, and the arbitrator ruled April 9 that Hoffner should only have received a verbal reprimand and that he should have the option of taking his head coaching job back, as well as other financial stipulations. He returned to MSU shortly after.

Due to the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, MSU and MnSCU officials have stated they cannot answer questions to legislators or to the public with regard to what went into their disciplinary decisions about Hoffner. That led legislators — especially following the arbitrator's ruling — to discuss with each other and with Nobles the need for a review.

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