The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

April 10, 2014

Update: Arbitrator rules Hoffner should be rehired

Coach must get job back or be compensated by MSU

MANKATO — Todd Hoffner should be rehired as head football coach at Minnesota State University, paid for the 20 days he was suspended and the time off since he was fired nearly a year ago, and have his work record essentially wiped clean, according to an arbitrator’s ruling.

The ruling, issued by Gerald Wallin, said the university went too far when it suspended, reassigned, then fired Hoffner. The actions taken by MSU President Richard Davenport shouldn’t have amounted to anything more than an oral reprimand to Hoffner for allowing his wife to have access to his work computer passwords, Wallin said.

The ruling was posted to the public website of the state Bureau of Mediation Services and The Free Press accessed it before it was taken down. It is considered a non-public document.

Hoffner has since accepted a head coaching job at Minot State University in North Dakota. The ruling said if Hoffner chooses to keep that job, MSU will be required to pay any difference in pay between the two jobs until 2018. If Hoffner decides to return to MSU, his contract, scheduled to expire in 2016, will be extended to 2018.

Hoffner and his wife, Melodee Hoffner, are still considering whether to stay in Mankato or move to Minot, said Jim Fleming, one of Todd Hoffner’s attorneys. They have scheduled a news conference Tuesday at a law firm in Minneapolis.

”I can say he and his family are in serious discussions about what to do,” Fleming said. “This period from losing his job up until the point of this arbitration award has been particularly grueling. There was a time that Todd was working as a farmhand.”

Wallin’s ruling also criticized the university for saying nothing as members of the local media, then national media, started asking questions about why Hoffner wasn’t given his head coaching job back after criminal child pornography charges that preceded the disciplinary actions were dismissed.

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