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Mankato players expected to practice Friday

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MANKATO, Minn. -- After refusing to practice for recently reinstated coach Todd Hoffner, players on the Minnesota State University-Mankato football team are expected to return to practice Friday, a member of the school’s athletic department said Thursday.

“All indications are that they will return to practice tomorrow,” said Paul Allan, associate director of athletics at MSU-Mankato.

A news conference is set for 3 p.m. today on the MSU-Mankato campus to discuss the coaching situation.

Hoffner, who was fired by the university over pornography allegations, announced Tuesday that he would return to his former coaching job. An arbitrator’s ruling that he was fired improperly made his return to Mankato possible.

But the bulk of the team on Wednesday said it wanted acting head coach Aaron Keen to remain the coach and did not practice.

Keen had been leading spring practice since March 31. MSU-Mankato, a Division II school, was 11-1 under Keen last fall and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

No practice was scheduled Thursday.

MSU-Mankato fired Hoffner last May. He had been accused, and later cleared, of having pornographic images of his own children on a work cellphone.

Hoffner was fired for allegedly viewing pornography or allowing someone else to view pornography on his university-issued computers. The arbitrator ruled those were not firing offenses.

He had been hired by Minot (N.D.) State University in January, but announced Tuesday his intention to return to Mankato, where he had coached for four seasons.

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