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With Hoeppner's health in question, contract status uncertain

INDIANAPOLIS -- Terry Hoeppner's contract with Indiana
University could be voided if a doctor determines the Hoosiers'
ailing football coach is permanently disabled.

The contract, obtained by The Associated Press under a Freedom
of Information request, does not specify a timetable for making
such a decision.

Hoeppner, who turns 60 in August, has undergone two brain
surgeries since December 2005 and is on his third medical leave
from the team. Still, he signed a two-year extension to his
contract last December.

His latest absence began in mid-March and is the longest of the
three. Hoeppner has not made a public appearance since late
February at a NCAA luncheon in Indianapolis.

Athletic director Rick Greenspan recently expressed concern over
Hoeppner's prolonged absence but declined repeated interview
requests from The Associated Press.

The disability provision in Hoeppner's contract, which is
similar to language in other coaches' contracts, allows the
contract, which runs through June 2012, to be terminated for
physical or mental disabilities.

University spokesman Larry MacIntyre said Thursday that
Greenspan must initiate the process.

"The employee reports to the athletic director, so it's in the
hands of the athletic director," MacIntyre said. "That's where it
remains until the athletic director decides what to do."

Both sides must agree on which doctor performs the exam. If they
cannot agree, Dr. Vidya Kora, the president of the Indiana State
Medical Association, would appoint one. The university president
then must approve the doctor.

Kora said Wednesday he has not been contacted.

"The only discussion that's taken place that I've been involved
in is that Terry Hoeppner plans on coaching this fall, but that was
a while ago," outgoing trustees president Stephen Ferguson said.
"Terry, as is his right, has kept all that information to
himself."

Hoeppner receives a base salary of $250,000 and another $300,000
for his role in promotional activities, which the university has
continued to pay in his absence. He also receives $50,000 annually
in deferred compensation and has incentive bonuses based on the
Hoosiers' on-field performance.

In early May, Hoeppner issued a statement through the
university, saying he continued to receive medical treatment and
remained "inspired to return to coaching when my health permits."

But there has been no indication of when he might return.

With fall practice just two months away, a big decision looms
for Greenspan.