J Robinson coaching at the Big Ten Wrestling Championships (Photo/Mark Beshey, The Guillotine)
The agent for suspended University of Minnesota head wrestling coach J Robinson said that negotiations for an exit strategy are falling apart, claiming that the school is trying to place all blame for allegations of some wrestlers using and selling prescription pills on the doorstep of the long-time coach, the St. Paul Pioneer-Press reported Friday.
The newspaper reported that James C.W. Bock, an attorney and Robinson's agent, told WCCO Radio, "The bottom line is, in all candor, we've been negotiating with the University of Minnesota, and if the university wants a scapegoat, then pay (Robinson) his contract and kick him out the door."
"From the inside, it looks to me as though the university, for some reason, wants to blame Coach Robinson for internal athletic department, and probably larger, failures."
"It looks like their internal practices broke down, so they need a scapegoat," Bock said in an interview with WCCO's Mike Max.
Robinson was suspended indefinitely by Athletics Director Mark Coyle on his first day on the job on June 1. The coach remains on paid administrative leave pending the results of a school investigation into the way he handled allegations that some of his wrestlers were taking and selling the prescription anti-anxiety drug Xanax. That investigation is still underway. In the meantime, Robinson has been ordered to stay off campus.
In late June, Hennepin County prosecutors as well as Minneapolis city attorneys announced they would not pursue criminal charges against Gopher wrestlers suspected of using and selling Xanax earlier this year, nor would there be any obstruction charges leveled towards coach J Robinson, citing a lack of evidence.
Less than two weeks ago, head assistant coach Brandon Eggum was named acting head coach.
Robinson, 69, was hired as head coach at Minnesota in 1986. During that time, the Gophers have claimed their first three NCAA Division I team titles in 2001, 2002, and 2007 (placing second six times), with 62 individuals earning NCAA All-American honors, and 14 individual NCAA champs. J Rob has also guided Minnesota to six Big Ten conference team titles, with 30 Gopher wrestlers accounting for 48 individual titles. Almost exactly one year ago, Robinson's contract was extended by the university until 2019.