Bob Knight refuses the check from Indiana University?

Sweet fancy Moses.  Last week, it appeared that Bob Knight's return to Bloomington for next week's IU Hall of Fame induction might be made easier by the apparent settlement of his lawsuit against IU concerning the obligation of IU and/or certain insurance companies to reimburse Knight for the settlement he paid and legal fees he incurred in defending the wrongful termination suit filed against Knight and IU by former assistant coach Ron Felling. Today, ESPN reports that Knight has told his attorneys to send the check back.

As I mentioned earlier, for whatever reason, this lawsuit never received nearly as much publicity as the Felling suit itself, the Open Door lawsuit filed by a bunch of crazed IU fans, or the wrongful termination suit filed by Knight.  Probably, it gained little publicity because it deals with un-glamourous issues such as insurance coverage and contract construction rather than the juicy facts themselves.  In any event, the ESPN report includes a statement from Knight that raises more questions than it answers.

Per ESPN, Knight says:

The Indiana University administration recently made a public announcement on a very private issue that I was being sent a check for $75,000 from alumni donations to cover expenses I incurred as an employee at Indiana University.

There's really no such thing as a private matter in litigation with a public university.  If anything, the Open Door lawsuit should have taught you that.  I have no idea why or to whom IU produced this letter, but ultimately it would have been a public record, I think. Knight continues:

Indiana University has refused for nine years to take care of their obligation in this matter. I did not know until Monday that this check was sent to my attorney. Upon finding out about it, I immediately gave him instructions to send the check back.

This is the most confusing part.  Did Knight's attorneys sign a settlement agreement without their client's consent?  I can't imagine, particularly not in a high profile case with a high profile client, but stranger things have happened.  Did Knight know of the settlement, but not know of the source of the $75,000?  That's perhaps the most plausible explanation, but we won't know unless Knight or his attorneys further elaborate.

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.  This issue is with the university, not with the alumni.

Again, I'm not sure that this makes much sense.  IU is a public university.  Its funds come from Indiana taxpayers, federal funds, various grants, and, among other things, donations from alumni.  Anything that comes from IU is coming indirectly from donating alumni.  Whatever happened with this lawsuit, the money never was going to come from Myles Brand's estate, for instance.

I don't mean to make light of this. Like most IU fans, I was hoping that Knight would be willing to bury the hatchet and show up on November 7.  That seems quite unlikely now.  I'm sure that Knight's most ardent defenders will blame this on the IU administration or IU's attorneys, but I'm not sure what they could have done differently.  They have a settlement agreement setting out the relevant terms, including the source of the funds, and Knight's attorneys signed it.  Maybe they screwed up.  Maybe Knight is going rogue.  Whatever the cause of the breakdown, it's disappointing.  And unless this is some classic "BK Theater" designed to get our hopes down before his triumphant return to Bloomington in ten days, it now seems less likely than ever.
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