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April 11, 2014

Fired coach unjustly accused of visiting porn sites

MANKATO, Minn. — Minnesota State University-Mankato officials wrongly accused former football coach Todd Hoffner of viewing pornography sites on his work  computer before firing him last May, a state arbitrator has disclosed.

Arbitrator Gerald Wallin concluded that university officials also unjustly accused Hoffner of causing campus concern for bringing his young children into the team’s locker room while players were partially unclothed, and for having a picture of a nude male on his school-issued cellphone.

Wallin said these were reasons given by university President Richard Davenport for firing Hoffner even though a judge dismissed child pornography charges against him for taking video images on his school cellphone of his kids dancing in the nude after taking a bath at home.

The arbitrator said the only misstep Hoffner could have been disciplined for was allowing his wife to have access to his work computer – a violation of school rules that warranted an oral reprimand at most, he added.

Details of the arbitrator’s investigation and findings were contained in a 72-page confidential report on Hoffner’s challenge to his demotion and later widely-publicized dismissal by the university. The report was briefly posted Thursday to the public website of the state Bureau of Mediation Service, and obtained there by the Mankato Free Press.

The arbitrator’s decision that the university had no just cause to fire Hoffner was publicly announced, as was the remedy to the school’s action: Reinstatement of Hoffner with back pay to his head coaching position.

Hoffner  is scheduled to hold a news conference Tuesday to announce whether he will return to his old job or retain the head football coach position he was appointed to at Minot, N.D., State University in January.

If he stays put, the arbitrator ruled the Mankato school must pay him the difference between his North Dakota salary of $90,000 per year and his Minnesota compensation of $101,190 through 2016, when his contract would have expired.

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