Wrestling coach under fire for misuse of U resources

David La Vaque

Minnesota wrestling coach J Robinson is under investigation once again, this time for using University equipment to solicit funds for Simply Common Sense, an organization founded three years ago to fight gender equity aspects of Title IX.

Men’s athletics director Tom Moe, Robinson’s boss, said this violation of University policy will be reviewed along with allegations of intimidation and harassment at Robinson’s wrestling camp two weeks ago.

The investigation will be jointly conducted by the University general counsel and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action.

Moe and Robinson met briefly Wednesday before the coach left town.

“J admits to having used his computer and his fax in composing and sending out the letter,” Moe said. “And that’s contrary to University policy, unless the writing of the letter is somehow construed to be a job responsibility – and that’s his position.

“My inclination is that the writing of the letter was personal as opposed to part of his job responsibilities.”

In a fax dated May 14, Robinson listed seven schools pledging $2,000 to Simply Common Sense, along with an $8,000 commitment from the University. Robinson said the money came from himself and another private party, not from boosters or the University.

After reviewing records, Moe confirmed the funds did not come from the University.

Long outspoken against issues of gender proportionality and quotas in collegiate athletics, Robinson – who guided Minnesota to a NCAA championship last season – developed Simply Common Sense as an educational organization.

“There’s basically a war going on against boys in the United States that no one will talk about because it’s not politically correct,” Robinson said. “The problem is, the women have a very good, organized, well-funded lobby and the men don’t.”

A letter included in the fax – sent anonymously to several media outlets and University officials – outlines Robinson’s short-term plans for funding Simply Common Sense.

“I would like to raise $80,000 – $90,000 per year to hire a full-time director with a secretary and a small travel budget … I am asking you to donate $2,000 for three years to this program. The $2,000 can come from your club, booster fans or any combination … There are so many actions this position can take to help us fight gender equity everyday,” the letter stated.

Robinson, who had 20 schools pledge support to Simply Common Sense last year before health problems forced the administrator to resign, hopes to have a small staff together in two or three months and publish a newsletter. He declined comment on how much money has been raised.

Robinson said coaches at other universities are being discouraged from pledging Simply Common Sense.

“I know one Big Ten coach who was told, ‘If you start getting involved in this, you’re not going to have a job here,'” Robinson said. “I always thought universities were a place for open discussion.”

Women’s athletics director Chris Voelz expressed concern over Robinson’s continued campaigning against aspects of Title IX, a federal law first passed in 1972 requiring women’s participation in sports to be equal to the enrollment percentage of a particular college.

“While coach Robinson may say that Title IX is why wrestling programs have decreased – that’s absolutely wrong,” Voelz said. “In the same period of time that the nation lost a lot of wrestling programs, they also lost a lot of women’s gymnastics programs, but he never talks about that. It’s erroneous to say we have caused that.”

Moe said he will meet with Robinson as soon as the investigation produces all necessary information.

 

David La Vaque is the sports editor and welcomes comments at
[email protected]