Cleared Minnesota college coach fights suspension

Cleared Minnesota college coach fights suspension

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) A Minnesota college football coach who was cleared of child porn charges is fighting a suspension, his union said Thursday, although neither it nor the university would say what prompted the punishment or shed light on his prospects for reinstatement.

Coach Todd Hoffner received a written notice from Minnesota State University, Mankato late Tuesday afternoon about a 20-day unpaid suspension that begins Jan. 7, the general counsel for the Inter Faculty Organization said in an email to The Associated Press. Connie Howard said the union has filed a grievance challenging the suspension.

Hoffner was put on paid administrative leave after videos of his naked children were found on his university-issued cellphone in August. A judge ruled Nov. 30 that the videos were not pornographic and dismissed the felony charges against Hoffner, accepting his testimony that the videos merely showed his children acting silly after a bath.

``The grievance charges that the university failed to follow progressive discipline and did not have just cause to issue the suspension,'' Howard wrote. She declined to provide further details and would not say what reason the university gave for Hoffner's suspension, whether it was related to the videos or what his prospects might be for being reinstated as head coach of the Mavericks.

The MnSCU system has a policy prohibiting the use of university-issued cellphones or mobile devices for personal business.

Hoffner was beginning a new four-year contract when he was escorted off a practice field in August, a few days after he returned his malfunctioning phone to the school. University technicians found the videos and notified university officials, who contacted police. Hoffner was not allowed back and had to miss the Mavericks' 13-1 season, including their appearance in the NCAA Division II semifinals Dec. 8. He had a 34-13 record in his first four years at Mankato.

Minnesota State issued a brief statement Wednesday night saying Hoffner's administrative leave ended Monday and he remains on the university's payroll, but Aaron Keen remains acting coach.

``One complaint against the football coach was investigated and the investigation has been completed. One complaint against Mr. Hoffner is pending and is under investigation,'' the statement said without elaboration.

University spokesman Dan Benson, citing privacy laws, told the AP he couldn't comment on the nature of the complaints.

``The word `reinstated' would not be accurate,'' Benson said. ``He is no longer on leave. He remains on the payroll ... but he has not assumed duties as the head football coach again at this time.''

Hoffner could not be reached immediately for comment Thursday. He does not have a listed phone number. His civil attorney, Chris Madel, was in court and unavailable Thursday. His attorney for the criminal case, Jim Fleming, said he was not directly involved in the personnel case.

Minnesota State athletics director Kevin Buisman did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday.

Bowie State at Virginia State: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch


Bowie State at Virginia State: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

A red-hot Virginia State squad will welcome Bowie State for their homecoming game on Saturday. The Trojans have won their last five games and will be looking to keep the momentum going against Bowie State.

Bowie State come in with a perfect 6-0 record and just beat Chowan University 64-17 with their high-powered offense. 

Here's how to catch all the action. 

How to watch Virginia State vs. Bowie State

Who: Virginia State vs. Bowie State

What: College Football Week 8

Where: Rogers Stadium, Pettersburg, VA

When: Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019

TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington Plus

Live Stream: NBC Sports Washington

Radio: 91.3 WVST

Point Spread: N/A

Over/Under: N/A

Weather: 69 degrees, mostly sunny 

Virginia State Football Schedule

Week 1: @ Norfolk State 21-44, L

Week 2: vs. University of NC at Pembroke, 35-16, W

Week 3: @ St. Augustine's University, 34-7, W

Week 4: vs. Johnson C. Smith, 31-15, W

Week 5: vs. Shaw University, 35-0, W

Week 6: @ Elizabeth State, 54-21, W

Week 7: vs. Bowie State 

Week 8: @ Lincoln University

Week 9: @ Chowan University 

Week 10: vs. Virginia Union University


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Capitals Prospect Report: Travis Boyd makes the most of his time in Hershey

Capitals Prospect Report: Travis Boyd makes the most of his time in Hershey

Players dream of one day making the NHL. Everyone knows how hard it is to get there, but few realize how difficult it can be to stay. Travis Boyd learned that first hand this season. After a full season in the NHL last year in which he played 61 games, Boyd was put on waivers after Evgeny Kuznetsov returned from suspension and sent to Hershey.

Boyd is not the first player to be sent back down to the AHL and he won’t be the last. Some players do not handle this well and their stats plummet. Boyd, however, took the opposite approach.

The best way to show you are an NHL player is by dominating the league below it and that is exactly what Boyd has been doing.

In two games with the Bears, he scored four goals and two assists. That performance earned him AHL Player of the Week honors.

On Wednesday, Richard Panik suffered an injury and was placed on long-term injured reserve. It was no surprise to see Boyd as the first forward to get called up.

The injury leaves Panik out of the lineup for at least 10 games. Head coach Todd Reirden said Friday that Boyd will travel with the team on its upcoming road trip. If he gets into a game, it is now up to him to do what he did in the AHL, prove he belongs.

With a total cap hit of only $800,000, Boyd would be doing the team a favor if he can outplay another player like Chander Stephenson has a larger cap hit. It all depends on what he can do with his opportunity.

Other prospect notes

  • In addition to Boyd, Martin Fehervary was also recalled on Friday with Jonas Siegenthaler being a game-time decision. Siegenthaler is expected to play on Friday, but it is worth keeping an eye on to see if the team tries to get Fehervary a game or two while they have cap flexibility with Panik on LTIR. It is doubtful he will stick around given that Tyler Lewington has a smaller cap hit. The salary cap house of cards likely does not work without Lewington’s $675,000, but this could be an opportunity to get Fehervary another game.
  • Tarik El-Bashir of The Athletic got a chance to speak with Pheonix Copley and Christian Djoos, two other players who did not expect to start the season in the AHL. You can read his story here.
  • Axel Jonsson-Fjallby scored two goals against the Toronto Marlies on Wednesday. His greatest asset is his speed and he used it on both goals. The first was a steal in the neutral zone that he was able to turn into a breakaway when he turned on the jets. The second was a breakout from the defensive zone. His speed put a lot of pressure on the defense and he never stopped going to the front of the net. He started the play and finished it with a tip-in for the goal. You can watch the highlights here: 
  • Defenseman Bobby Nardella has yet to play for Hershey this season. I was asked about this for this week’s Caps Mailbag so I reached out to a team official. There is no injury, the situation is just that there are nine defensemen on the roster and the top four is set with Alex Alexeyev, Erik Burgdoerfer, Djoos, and Fehervary. That leaves Lucas Johansen, Connor Hobbs, Colby Williams, Tobias Geisser and Nardella all fighting for those final two spots in the lineup. Is nine defensemen too many? I don’t know enough about the day-to-day operations of an AHL team to be able to answer that. It seems like it would be beneficial to send one or two of those nine to the ECHL to get more playing time, but that does not seem to be the plan for now. Maybe Fehervary going to Washington can get Nardella a game.
  • Alexeyev saw his chance to make the NHL out of camp evaporate after a hit to the head in the prospects showcase. El-Bashir caught up with him in Hershey to see how he is handling life with the Bears.
  • Connor McMichael has been named to the Team OHL roster for the Canada-Russia series. The series is an annual tournament for junior players from both Canada and Russia. Russia brings a team of junior players to Canada to play all-star rosters from the QMJHL, OHL, and WHL. The OHL team will play Russia on Nov. 7 and 11.
  • Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News expects this to be a big year for McMichael.
  • Eric Florchuk earned First Star honors for his performance on Monday. He led Saskatoon to a 9-3 win over Calgary with a hat-trick performance.