MSU-Mankato football team refuses to practice, demands Keen - KMSP-TV

MSU-Mankato football team refuses to practice for Hoffner

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MANKATO, Minn. (KMSP) -

The very first day that Todd Hoffner was set to return to his position as head football coach at Minnesota State University in Mankato, the team refused to practice.

The team is demanding that Aaron Keen, who replaced Hoffner after he was terminated, remain their head coach.

PLAYERS STATEMENT

"We want information. We want answers. We've decided not to practice because of a change-up in the coaching situation."

Matt Murphy, a tight end for the Mavericks last season, sent a tweet just before 4 p.m. that read, "The #MavFam just reminded the world that athletes are players, not property."


Follow Fox 9's Rob Olson on Twitter and Fox 9's Paul Blume for the latest developments on this breaking news.


NO IMMEDIATE RESOLUTION AFTER MEETING

Players met with Minnesota State Director of Athletics Kevin Buisman shortly after the revolt, but Fox 9 News learned nothing was resolved during that discussion.

According to a source in MSU athletics, a second meeting with players and both coaches will be held on Thursday; however, a time and place have not yet been determined.

NO COMMENT FROM HOFFNER

Hoffner, still wearing his Mavericks purple jogging suit, declined to comment on the situation in the MSU football offices. For the moment, he appears to be relaxing away from the team.

Hoffner's wife, Melodee, told Fox 9's Paul Blume that although she hadn't heard about the player walkout yet, she knew there were bound to be some bumps with her husband's sudden return.

THE RETURN

Hoffner announced Tuesday that he would resume his post at an emotional press conference, and the decision came as a surprise to many even though an arbitrator ruled that he had been wrongfully terminated by the school after nude photographs of his children were discovered on a work-issued cellphone.

The 47-year-old coach vowed to return to the practice field on campus Wednesday, where he led the Mavericks to a 34-13 record in four seasons.

THE FIRING

The Fox 9 Investigators obtained a copy of the arbitrator's 72-page ruling that sheds light on why the school fired him in the first place.

Hoffner was fired last May after he had been cleared of pornography charges. Prosecutors said Hoffner took cell phone videos of his children performing suggestive acts while naked. Hoffner said the videos were just "innocent family moments." Blue Earth County District Court Judge Krista Jass dismissed the case for lack of probable cause.

Hoffner was still placed on a 20-day suspension for allegedly misusing a school-issued cell phone that contained images of a man climbing into a pool, but the arbitrator ruled the photos were "benign," "did not constitute misconduct," and therefore an invalid reason for suspension.

Ultimately, the school fired Hoffner claiming he had used a school laptop to access porn, but the arbitrator wrote "none of it was attributable to Hoffner's usage." A computer analyst determined a high school student was also issued the same laptop may have been the one who accessed the porn.

The arbitrator also discounted Mankato's accusation that Hoffner had let his kids into the locker room while players were undressing.

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