Jan Gangelhoff was 56 when she died from cancer in March 2005. This was unfortunate for Jan, family and friends, and perhaps in the wake of Friday's news from the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions, for the legacy of Minnesota's finest on-court days in men's basketball.
Gangelhoff was the office manager for Clem Haskins' program, and came forward to inform first the St. Paul Pioneer Press and then enforcement officials of having written 400 pieces of course work for 20 basketball players from 1995 to 1998.
This revelation wound up taking credit away from the Gophers for the 1997 Big Ten championship, a place in the 1997 Final Four and the 1998 NIT championship. It also cost Haskins his job and Bobby Jackson official recognition for his greatness as a Gopher.
But here's the deal: If Jan still was with us, perhaps she could recall a few of those papers finding their way to non-basketball players — a late-breaking revelation that this aggressive tutoring was not restricted to athletes.
And then maybe the NCAA could announce, "Based on the general availability, the panel cannot conclude a systemic effort to impermissibly benefit student athletes,'' and then the Gophers could get back all those wins and various banners.
Plus, the Gophers could bring back that montage painting that used to grace a basketball area, where Clem was painted away but the person charged with doing so neglected to remove his shoes.
Yes. The absurdity of North Carolina disavowing the report it commissioned (and once approved) on two decades of organized academic fraud benefiting scores of athletes and getting away with it; heck, Ski U Mah coming up with a new theory on its scandal could be no greater scam.
There was no attendance required and only the submission of one paper (or two shorter papers) to get class credit at UNC. And the grading was done by Deborah Crowder, a hard-core Tar Heels fan and basically an office manager.
My favorite: a 146-word "final'' paper on Rosa Parks that earned an A-minus from Crowder for an athlete.
There's much outstanding stuff to be found online on the NCAA/UNC's Theater of the Absurd. For a real hoot, check out Dan Wetzel's column on Yahoo Sports headlined, "North Carolina embarrassed the NCAA (and itself) in academic fraud case."
Read Patrick Reusse's blog at startribune.com/patrick. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.