A Minnesota college football coach who was cleared of child pornography 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 nude children were found on his university-issued cellphone in August. A judge in Minneapolis 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.
But the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System has a policy prohibiting the use of university-issued cellphones or mobile devices for personal business.
Minnesota State issued a brief statement 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.
BYU BOUNCES AZTECS
Linebacker Kyle Van Noy forced a fumble in the end zone and recovered it for a touchdown, and scored on a 17-yard interception return, both in the fourth quarter, to lead BYU to a 23-6 victory over San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego.
The big plays swung the momentum for the Cougars (8-5) in what had been a tedious defensive struggle. San Diego State (9-4), playing in the hometown bowl for the second time in three years, missed the chance for its first 10-win season since 1977 and had its seven-game winning streak snapped.
Van Noy scored the game’s first TD when he came free and hit Adam Dingwell’s arm as he started to pass in the end zone, forcing and recovering a fumble for a 10-6 lead. The play was ruled a fumble, and the call stood after a video review.
Dingwell fumbled the snap on SDSU’s next play from scrimmage and it was recovered by Jordan Johnson at the 14. Jamaal Williams scored on a run up the middle on the next play, BYU’s second TD in 17 seconds.
With 6:09 to go, Van Noy intercepted Dingwell’s pass and weaved through traffic and into the end zone. Van Noy was selected the game’s defensive MVP.
Dingwell finished with five turnovers, including three interceptions.
Former Utah State coach Gary Andersen was officially hired as Wisconsin’s new coach, and will be introduced at a news conference this morning in Madison, Wis. He replaces Bret Bielema, who left the Badgers for Arkansas. Meanwhile Utah State promoted offensive coordinator and former Aggies quarterback Matt Wells to replace Andersen as its head coach. … Alabama’s consensus All-America linebacker, C.J. Mosley, is returning for his senior season instead of entering the NFL draft. … LSU punter Brad Wing has been suspended for ninth-ranked LSU’s game against No. 14 Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl for an unspecified violation of team rules.
today’s college football bowl game
beef ’o’ brady’s bowl
Ball State (9-3) vs. Central Florida (9-4), 4:30 p.m., St. Petersburg, Fla. (ESPN)
What’s at stake: Ball State of the Mid-American Conference is seeking its first bowl victory and trying to finish with at least 10 wins for only the third time in school history. The Cardinals, who enter on a six-game winning streak, won 12 in 2008 and 10 in 1978. Central Florida, which is in a bowl for the fifth time under coach George O’Leary, is hoping to rebound from an overtime loss to Tulsa in the Conference USA title game and finish with double-digit wins for the third time since stepping up to the FBS.
Key matchup: Ball State’s explosive offense, which is averaging 471.3 yards a game, and UCF’s defense. The Knights have yielded 162.4 yards per game on the ground and 217.8 per game through the air. Ball State has scored 30 or more points in 10 games, including 41 against Indiana and 31 against South Florida – two wins over BCS conference members.
Players to watch: For Ball State – QB Keith Wenning has thrown for 2,878 yards (22 TDs and 10 INTs) and directs a balanced offense that also features RB Jahwan Edwards (6.1 yards a carry, 1,321 yards and 14 TDs) and WR Willie Snead (82 receptions, 1,070 yards, 7 TDs). For Central Florida – RB Latavius Murray has rushed for 1,035 yards and 14 TDs, and QB Blake Bortles has thrown for 2,787 yards, 22 TDs and seven interceptions. WR J.J. Worton leads the Knights in receiving with 41 catches for 562 yards and four TDs.
The pick: Ball State, 45-35The Associated Press