J Robinson’s real estate

A recent U investigation leaves the door opened to one from the NCAA.

The University of MinnesotaâÄôs investigation of the suspicious real estate transactions within the UniversityâÄôs wrestling program revealed, to use a coachâÄôs idiom, a lack of character on behalf of the University. The final product of the investigation was a poorly written six-page report that understandably invoked the NCAA statute of limitations on the few cases it analyzed. It ultimately reflected the investigation itself: a lazy affair that left more questions than answers. It was lazy because the University found it sufficient to look into just the findings of a December Minnesota Daily article that prompted the UniversityâÄôs investigation and nothing more. The Daily investigation âÄî the result of several yearsâÄô worth of reporting from various editorial employees âÄî focused on a handful of questionable cases. We are wondering whether there were more. The report left more questions than answers because it was primarily based on interviews with members of the wrestling program without providing the specific content of those interviews. WeâÄôd be hard-pressed to call into question the honesty of the intervieweesâÄô responses, since we do not know what they were. The report does take measures to mention that the interviewees âÄî who included former and all current wrestlers along with wrestling staff members âÄî cooperated with the investigation. The introduction claims all interviewees âÄúwere cooperative and appeared forthright.âÄù And the conclusion states, âÄúAt no time did anyone appear evasive or untruthful.âÄù We want to know what questions the University asked and what responses the interviewees gave. Yet we do not have to know the content of the UniversityâÄôs interview with J Robinson âÄî the central figure of the investigation âÄî to doubt its veracity. Robinson unreservedly lied to The Minnesota Daily. When asked about the transactions last year, he first stated, âÄúI havenâÄôt sold any houses to anybody, and they havenâÄôt bought any houses from me, so thereâÄôs no story there.âÄù When the Daily pressed him on a specific transaction, he acknowledged it took place. He subsequently remained evasive about his real estate dealings, instead offering the Daily his news judgment, saying, âÄúYouâÄôre making something out of nothing, and I have no reason to say anything.âÄù Ideally, the burden should be on Robinson to illustrate the integrity of his word with clear evidence because he already demonstrated that his word alone cannot stand as evidence. Regrettably, though, much of this investigation comes down to the content of the conversations between Robinson and the students he was recruiting. So we may never know their nature. The case of All-American wrestler Sonny Yohn provides some clues. Yohn, who was ranked the second best high school wrestler in the nation by at least one publication, told the Daily that Robinson discussed real estate with him during the recruiting process âÄî although Yohn was apparently unaware of the context of the conversation. Yohn joined the Gophers in 2007, and in August 2009, with his name still on the roster, the second-year student purchased a property in the Lauderdale neighborhood, with the help of former wrestling coach Marty Morgan. That itself was a questionable move because Morgan might qualify as a booster. The report fails to appropriately address YohnâÄôs case. The University maintained that RobinsonâÄôs property transaction assistance to staff members who were former student-athletes did not constitute a recruiting inducement. What about a transaction with current student-athletes? That would certainly have a bearing on recruits. WhatâÄôs distressing about the investigation is that the University found it sufficient to leave questions like that unanswered. And precisely because the University did not choose diligence and transparency in its investigation, the NCAA should consider starting its own.