Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Knight to lawyer: 'Send the check back'
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Bob Knight has two more complaints with Indiana University.
He didn't like the school making a private matter public, and he didn't want Indiana alumni footing the bill to settle a lawsuit.
On Tuesday, Knight released a statement saying he will return a $75,000 check sent last week by Indiana officials as a settlement offer.
"Indiana University has refused for nine years to take care of their obligation in this matter," Knight said in a statement released by ESPN, for whom he now works. "I did not know until yesterday [Monday] that this check was sent to my attorney. Upon finding out about it, I immediately gave him instructions to send the check back."
The letter, sent from Russell Yates' law firm in Denver, was dated Monday and requested routing codes and account numbers so the money could be wired back to the university's account.
Indiana University spokesman Larry MacIntyre confirmed the letter had been received but the money, which was obtained through private donations, had not yet been returned.
Knight sued Indiana, claiming the school did not properly defend him against a suit from Ron Felling, a former assistant coach. Knight settled that case in 2002 by paying Felling $25,000 and admitting that in 1999 he shoved Felling in anger after overhearing him criticize Knight's coaching and behavior.
When asked what Knight's decision meant for the lawsuit, MacIntyre said: "I have no idea."
The timing of Knight's decision is awkward, though.
On Wednesday, the NCAA is holding a public tribute for the late Myles Brand, the man who fired Knight in September 2000 when he was Indiana's president.
And next week, Knight and former player Steve Downing will be inducted into the school's hall of fame. Downing is expected to attend the ceremonies next weekend. It is unclear whether Knight will attend.
Next week's honor didn't stop Knight from criticizing the university for its efforts to settle.
"In all the years I coached at Indiana and elsewhere, I never accepted a thing from alumni and I don't intend to start now," he said. "This issue is with the university, not with the alumni.
"It would be amazing what this university's legal office has spent over the past nine years avoiding this obligation as well as paying off all the broken athletic contracts they have made," he said.
Indiana fired Knight in September 2000 after he won a school-record 662 games, 11 Big Ten championships and three national championships. The reason: Brand put Knight on a zero-tolerance policy following a university investigation into a former player's allegations that Knight had choked him during a practice. When freshman Kent Harvey accused Knight of grabbing him later that year, Brand fired Knight.
The General returned to coaching in 2001 at Texas Tech, where he continued to coach until retiring as the Division I leader in victories (902) in 2008. His son, Pat, replaced Knight at Texas Tech.
Knight was also the head coach at Army before coming to Indiana.