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Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

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The Minnesota Daily

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Probe expands to student group

The University’s general counsel said the institution will share its inquiry findings with the NCAA.

In the wake of media reports that University football players took recruits to bars and a strip club, the University is investigating members of an all-girls student recruitment group and the football team.

General Counsel Mark Rotenberg said the University will submit the findings of the internal inquiry to the NCAA.

Rotenberg said it is not clear whether players broke any NCAA rules.

“Many of these allegations relate to poor judgment rather than breaking rules that the NCAA has,” he said.

Rotenberg said the University hopes to have some preliminary results of the investigation by the end of the month.

In e-mails obtained by The Minnesota Daily, the supervisor for Go-pher Gold said the group is the direct target of an investigation.

“They are looking to find anything negative they can,” Shannon Bertram wrote in an e-mail sent to group members about the University inquiry and the media attention devoted to it.

“I want to protect you guys Ö this is why I lecture you about being professional and not allowing this group to be looked at in a negative way, because you are professionals and should always act like one in EVERY situation.”

The Daily received the e-mail through a Go-pher Gold member who wished to remain anonymous.

Go-pher Gold is composed of about 50 female students who assist recruits at football events including home-game brunches, official visit weekends and miscellaneous functions. The volunteer group also takes part in various community service activities.

The group is open to men and has had male members in the past, Bertram said.

When called Tuesday about the investigation, Bertram said no Go-pher Gold members had been or would be interviewed.

She did not return calls from the Daily on Thursday to comment on the e-mails.

Athletics department officials said the University is focused on everyone involved in the recruiting process.

One Go-pher Gold member, who the University’s athletics compliance department questioned this week, said she did not know why the University would want to investigate the group.

The student, who did not want her name used, said she was asked how she got involved in the group, what members do for official and unofficial recruiting visits and if they ever did anything with recruits outside of the visits.

“(Bertram) always stressed that we act professional and are not to get involved with the recruits,” she said. “Our program may be all female but our job is just to help the recruit know where to go on their official visit day.”

In her e-mail, Bertram said the group is a target because it is all-female and stressed its activities, which include helping recruits and often their families, are legitimate.

Another Go-pher Gold member who also did not want her name used said some women might go out with football players and recruits at night during their free time, which is not associated with Go-pher Gold or considered part of their duties to the organization.

A football player, who University officials also questioned, said Go-pher Gold women sometimes go out at night with players and recruits.

The player did not want his name or position used.

The investigation began after a recruit “started shooting his mouth off about how we were making him do things,” he said.

The player went out with recruits in December and said no one forced recruits to drink or do anything they did not want to do.

“I think I can speak for a lot of players. I think it’s completely unnecessary,” he said of the investigation. “I don’t think anything was going on that was too crazy.”

– Patricia Drey, Dan Haugen, K.C. Howard and Brian Stensaas contributed to this report.

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