Wrestling coach files a complaint

Minnesota wrestling coach J Robinson says women’s sports get preferential treatment.

Aaron Blake

Minnesota wrestling coach J Robinson has filed a gender discrimination complaint against the University.

Robinson, in his 18th year at Minnesota, said the University was unwilling to take action when he tried to confront the problem internally. So he took the issue up with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.

“Enough is enough,” he said.

Though the Gophers coach declined to discuss the details of the complaint, he said the University has created a class system inside the athletics department, in which decisions are made based solely on gender.

“If you coach a women’s sport, you get all kinds of advantages based on just coaching women – just coaching the gender,” he said. “There’s nothing else. It’s pretty simple. It’s pretty indefensible really.”

Robinson has been an outspoken opponent of Title IX, which was intended to level the playing field for females in areas such as athletics. He has said the legislation is the reason many wrestling programs get shut down around the country.

In 2001, the University investigated a complaint that Robinson forced participants of his wrestling camp to write anti-Title IX letters to elected officials.

Later that year, he was reprimanded for using University resources to distribute information in protest of Title IX.

“What’s being made available to different sports and different coaches is different,” Robinson said. “What you want is one standard for everybody, and there’s not.”

Minnesota Athletics Director Joel Maturi said he couldn’t comment on the complaint because he hadn’t seen it as of Wednesday evening.

He also said the complaint came as no surprise because Robinson had already informed him of his intent to file it.

“It’s a situation where it will be handled in the appropriate manner,” Maturi said. “J has the right to do what he did, and I’m sure our people will respond appropriately.”

Calls to University General Counsel Mark Rotenberg’s office were not returned.

In his time at Minnesota, Robinson has won two national championships (2001 and 2002), two national coach of the year honors (1998 and 2001) and five Big Ten coach of the year honors.

In 2001, he was named Amateur Wrestling News man of the year for his support of wrestling at all levels.

This season, his team is 9-6 overall and 3-3 in the Big Ten.