U investigating wrestling program

The investigation follows a report concerning real estate dealings.

Mike Mullen

The University of MinnesotaâÄôs investigation into the real estate dealings of current and former wrestlers and coaches, including head coach J Robinson, is still six to 12 weeks from being completed, according to University spokesman Dan Wolter. The investigation, which is looking into possible violations of NCAA rules prohibiting coaches or programs from offering special benefits to athletes, was spurred by a Dec. 10 Minnesota Daily report. The report found that Robinson, a three-time NCAA champion coach, bought houses from former wrestlers on two occasions. Robinson also sold houses to former wrestlers Luke Becker and Brandon Eggum, who now serve as RobinsonâÄôs assistant coaches. Wrestler Sonny Yohn told the Daily that Robinson mentioned real estate during his recruitment and that former assistant coach Marty Morgan acted as his real estate agent. In buying a house, Yohn became the sixth Gophers wrestler to own property while still a member of the team. In all, seven current or former wrestlers, two assistant coaches, a team staff member, Morgan and Robinson have owned a total of 55 properties near campus. At the time of the report, Athletics Director Joel Maturi expressed surprise at the number of transactions and said some of the deals would need to be looked into by the UniversityâÄôs compliance office. Director of Athletic Compliance JT Bruett and General Counsel Mark Rotenberg are conducting the investigation. Wolter said the investigationâÄôs progress is being delayed by a number of factors, including the ongoing wrestling season and the fact that Bruett and Rotenberg began the investigation with no prior knowledge of the transactions. âÄúWe really have a newspaper article that is the sole source for [the investigation],âÄù Wolter said. The investigation would involve a review of public documents and âÄúa large number of interviews,âÄù Wolter said. With an estimated timeline of up to 12 weeks, the UniversityâÄôs findings will likely arrive during the wrestling season, with the NCAA Tournament scheduledto start March 18. If the investigation finds violations occurred, the report will be passed on to the NCAA, which could then conduct its own investigation and impose sanctions on the program. âÄúItâÄôs obviously in everybodyâÄôs interest and desire to get to the bottom of this,âÄù Wolter said.