Latest turmoil threatens to affect state funding for the University of Minnesota

MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach
Minnesota State Capitol

As you might imagine. Maura Lerner of the Strib says, “The latest Gophers athletic scandal is starting to make waves at the State Capitol, where some say it could affect funding for the University of Minnesota as well as the choice of the newest members for the Board of Regents. … As the public debate rages on, [DFL Rep. Gene] Pelowski said he’s heard grumbling at the Legislature about the estimated $5 million that it will cost the U to buy out the contracts of Claeys and most of his coaching staff. ‘There’s big numbers in play when you fire a coach and hire another,’ Pelowski said.” But, sir, it’s an investment in community building.

Meanwhile, it looks like they have a coach. Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel reports: “The University of Minnesota is expected to hire P.J. Fleck as its new coach, according to a source. The two sides are working on a deal, which could be finalized as early as Friday morning. Fleck led Western Michigan to an undefeated regular season and MAC title this year before losing in the Cotton Bowl to Wisconsin. Western Michigan finished the season 13–1, and Fleck solidified himself as one of the most sought-after coaches in college football.”

So when he goes back to Colorado with $1 million in his pocket, what will he buy? Says Paul Walsh in the Strib, “A Colorado man back in his old central Minnesota haunts for Thanksgiving now has more than a million reasons to be thankful for making the trip. Shawn Walcheski matched all but the Powerball on one of his three tickets purchased in St. Cloud, allowing him to collect the $1 million prize on Wednesday at Minnesota Lottery headquarters in Roseville.”

I assume someone has a plan for this. Stribber Emma Nelson reports, “It’s clear the downtown Minneapolis Macy’s is closing, but the fate of the bustling skyways that funnel pedestrians past stacks of sweaters and displays of fancy chocolates there is now up in the air. ‘One of my first e-mails today was exactly that question from the general manager at [the IDS Center]’, said Minneapolis Downtown Council President Steve Cramer. ‘A lot of people are wondering.’

Directly related. John Ewoldt of the Strib says, “Macy’s will start its closing sale at its downtown Minneapolis store on Monday. The sale is expected to last 10 to 12 weeks, Andrea Schwartz, spokeswoman for Macy’s North Central region, said Thursday.” Christmas sweaters, 90 percent off?

In the Los Angeles Times, Neal Leidereg reports, “A pair of properties owned by the late singer-songwriter Prince at the time of his death have been sold in Chanhassen, a suburb of Minneapolis. Of the two, the largest was a 1.82-acre parcel of land that sold for $240,000. The property originally came to market in November for $925,000; however, that asking price included the construction of a Gonyea Homes-designed residence of about 3,600 square feet, according to listing details.The other property, nearly half an acre, also came to market with plans for a to-be-built house by Gonyea Homes. Listed for $599,999, it sold just before Christmas for $150,000.” To get to it from LA, you take the 405 to the 10 to the 15 … .

Also music-related. Try a double soy half-caf caramel macchiato with your Deth. For The Current, Jay Gabler says, “bassist David Ellefson, a founding member of Megadeth, is going to start selling coffee and exhibiting his memorabilia in his hometown of Jackson, Minnesota. The town of 3,299 is two-and-a-half hours southwest of the Twin Cities. The ‘Museum of Deth’ will be part of the rebranded Ellefson Coffee Co., a shop formerly known as Coffee Choices. The shop sells Ellefson’s signature blend (“Urban Legend”) and relaunches under its new name on Monday. Ellefson now resides in Arizona, but according to a press release, he decided to collaborate with Coffee Choices owner Susan Reiter on a relaunching of her shop as the home base of his coffee company and a satellite location for sales of music and merch from Ellefson’s record label.”

There will be adoption bids for this one. MPR’s Tim Nelson reports, “The newborn boy found abandoned Wednesday evening in the Cathedral of St. Paul is safe and healthy. Custodian Nathan Leonhardt found the boy between the interior and exterior doors of a side entry along Dayton Avenue. The child appeared to be just hours old, and his umbilical cord was clamped off with a binder clip. Paramedics took the child to Children’s Hospital just down the hill from the church, and they say he is healthy and in good condition.”

Duluth, the new San Francisco. Says Dan Kraker for MPR, “A group of businesses and community groups in Duluth is urging the city to dispose of plastic bags and plastic foam food containers in favor of more environmentally friendly options. The ‘Bag It, Duluth – For the Love of Place’ campaign is calling for a city-wide ordinance that would phase in a ban on single-use, plastic carry-out bags and polystyrene containers used for take-out food. The proposal calls for a ban to be enacted over a one-year period.”

Because in Wisconsin, you get a 10-arrest DUI punch card and your license back. The AP reports, “A Wisconsin man charged this week with his 11th drunken driving offense had a valid driver’s license at the time of his latest arrest. Fifty-two-year-old Steven Johnson, of Fond du Lac, was arrested by Appleton police on New Year’s Day. Police Sgt. David Lund said Thursday that despite 10 previous drunken driving convictions, Johnson’s license was reinstated in July 2016. Johnson’s license was revoked for three years after his 10th drunken driving conviction in mid-2006. Records show his nine prior charges happened between 1990 and 1997.” And yeah, he’s wearing an Aaron Rodgers jersey in his mug shot.

The man knows hoops. From the Strib’s Jerry Zgoda, we have this on the Wolves recent road trip: “The Timberwolves received a 90-minute tour of the White House that included a visit with President Obama during one of their two days between games in Philadelphia and Washington. The commander in chief and leader of the free world for the next two weeks offered them a scouting report of themselves. ‘Yeah,’ Wolves guard Ricky Rubio said with a grin. ‘He said we’ve got to play better defense.'”

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 01/06/2017 - 10:28 am.

    I guess we can thank

    the U football players having no clue on the consequences of their actions when they stood up for their brothers and brought their horrible actions to light. Their ignorance is shining a light on the ridiculous amounts we spend on coaches. Maybe some action will be taken. I’m not hopeful, but who knows.

    • Submitted by Howard Salute on 01/06/2017 - 12:18 pm.

      Stupid is As Stupid Does

      Agreed! For sure mistakes were made by the administration over the handling this fiasco. But, it continues to appear from ongoing comments made by Claeys and the football players that they still do not understand that players are held to a higher code of conduct that is not established in the legal system. Talk of “due process” is not relevant. It only seems reasonable that the coaches should “educate” the players and make them understand these standards on Day 1. And it appears that failure is on Claeys.

      As a head coach, Claeys was in over his head as evidenced by not having enough control over the team leaders to prevent an asinine boycott. An effective head coach would have nipped this in the bud by calling in the team captains and seniors and explaining reality to them. Players like Mitch Leidner who continue to be baffled are showing their limited grasp of the situation and ultimately are hurting their marketability after graduation.

  2. Submitted by Bryce Elson on 01/06/2017 - 11:48 am.

    The New Coach

    Fleck at leasts one of the main criteria for a Gopher football coach, losing
    to Wisconsin in the final game of the year.

  3. Submitted by Nick Foreman on 01/06/2017 - 12:03 pm.

    IMO the president of the university

    And the athletic directors are lousy ineffective leaders to say the least. Both should go.

Leave a Reply