Gophers name acting wrestling coach as J Robinson investigation continues

- The University of Minnesota has named Brandon Eggum the acting head coach of the wrestling program amid an internal investigation over the dealing of prescription drugs within the program. Head coach J Robinson remains on administrative leave.

A Fox 9 investigation revealed allegations of four wrestlers dealing the prescription drug Xanax, with ten other athletes using the anti-anxiety drug. The wrestlers were allegedly selling Xanax, which they called “Zanny,” for $5 to other wrestlers and $8 to other students.

“Given the University’s internal investigation of Coach Robinson, it is important to have clear and continued leadership as the program prepares for the 2016-17 academic year,”Gophers athletics director Mark Coyle said in a statement. “Coach Eggum is an effective leader and will ensure continued stability within the wrestling program.”

On June 29, Hennepin County prosecutors declined charges at this time against members of the Gophers wrestling team. Following the decision, the University of Minnesota Police Department publicly released its 15-page report on the investigation, clarifying the timeline of who knew what and when they knew it. The UMPD case file shows obstruction charges were also being considered against head coach J Robinson, but the Minneapolis City Attorney declined those charges as well.

About Coach Brandon Eggum

Eggum has been a member of the Gophers wrestling staff since 2001, immediately after finishing his college wrestling career at Minnesota. As a Gophers wrestler, Eggum finished his final three seasons as an All-American and won two individual Big Ten titles. He ranks among the program’s 20 best all-time in wins and winning percentage. On the international level, Eggum won silver medals at the 2001 World and 2002 Pan American Freestyle Championships.

Timeline of Gophers wrestling investigation

Jan. 18 – Start of spring semester

Jan. 25 – Informant starts to hear about drug activity on the Gophers wrestling team.

Feb. 1- Informant sees video on an Android phone that belongs to a Gophers wrestler, showing a large amount of Xanax pills on a table top. He is told that he can get some Xanax if he is interested.

March 14 – Wrestling nationals are held in New York.

March 19 – Wrestling season ends.

March 21 – All Gophers wrestlers are called in for a mandatory drug test. Xanax was not one of the drugs tested for. Tests results reveal two wrestlers tested positive for amphetamines and one for marijuana.

March 23 – At a mandatory team meeting, Robinson says he’s aware of drug use on the team, including Xanax, Adderall and marijuana. Robinson says those involved have until March 25 through March 27 to tell him privately what their involvement is and to surrender any drugs in their possession. He says wrestlers who do this will be granted immunity.

March 29 – At a mandatory team meeting, Robinson tells wrestlers who were involved in drug activity to “write an essay that details their emotions of getting caught.”

The police report details a text message sent by Robinson to his wrestlers that says: “Remember that paper is due on my desk by tomorrow evening. #1 What emotions you’re feeling by getting caught, by letting your teammates, your parents down, how did it feel and do you want to feel that way again? #2 what did you learn from this? 3 what are you going to do different. Your plan so does not happen again?”

April 8 - University of Minnesota Police receive a submission from the informant  through the University of Minnesota Ethics Point Reporting System . The submission states that J Robinson tried to take matters into his own hands after discovering four wrestlers had sold drugs and 10 others had used it.

April 12 – J Robinson meets with investigators, and says he knew about drug use on the team but said it was “a confidential matter and he was taking care of it internally.” Robinson said if his wrestlers were granted immunity from criminal prosecution, he would tell investigators “everything that he knows.” He said that he knows the players involved, what their involvement is and where the drugs were coming from. Later that day, Robinson is informed that his wrestlers will not be granted immunity. In a follow-up conversation with the informant, police learn Robinson pulled several wrestlers aside and told them a criminal investigation was being conducted.

April 15 – A search warrant is executed at the Bierman Athletic Building, seeking documents, computers, storage devices and a cell phone. During an interview with police, Robinson once again confirms some of his wrestlers were involved in drug activity and says he wants to find a resolution so the issue doesn’t result in “carnage” for his team.

April 27 – Gophers wrestlers are contacted by police to schedule interviews. Investigators learn some wrestlers were “freaking out” about their drug tests. They also learn the Xanax pills were allegedly mailed in shoeboxes, with “hundreds of pills” stuffed inside of shoes, but that testimony came from a wrestler with no firsthand knowledge.

May 2 – Investigators asked former interim athletics director Beth Goetz for a second drug test of the wrestlers, for Xanax, which is not a substance banned by the NCAA. A university lawyers suggested police get a search warrant for a second urine test.

May 6 – Investigators receive a DVD copy of the apology letters some wrestlers provided to J Robinson.

May 24 – Fox 9 reporter Tom Lyden breaks the news of an investigation into drug use and sales on the Gophers wrestling team.

June 1 - J Robinson placed on administrative leave

June 17 – J Robinson Intensive Camps moved off U of M campus, to the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

June 22 - Hennepin County Attorney's Office declines charges, citing a lack of evidence.

June 28 - Minneapolis City Attorney's Office declines charges.

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