The KMSP-TV Fox 9 Investigators story also alleged that an informant told University of Minnesota Police the wrestlers were selling what they called "Zanny" for $5 a pill to individuals who used the drug with caffeinated sports energy drinks to get high.
In addition, Fox 9 reported that campus police are investigating a series of post-season team meetings in March, where long-time head wrestling coach J Robinson allegedly ordered mandatory urine testing, telling his wrestlers if they wrote a one-page personal essay about what they had done, they'd be "granted amnesty."
Minnesota coach J Robinson coaching at the 2016 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships (Photo/Mark Beshey, The Guillotine)In April, Robinson allegedly sent a text to his wrestlers, saying, in part, "remember that paper is due on my desk by tomorrow evening. #1 What emotions you're feeling by getting caught? #2 What did you learn from this? #3 What are you going to do different, your plan, so it doesn't happen again."
KMSP-TV stated that university police interviewed Robinson at his office on campus in April. The coach reportedly told them he was aware of narcotics use on the team, and he had fully taken care of the issues. He would not provide the essays or the names of those involved to police, unless they were granted immunity.
When KMSP-TV contacted Robinson by phone last week, he didn't deny an investigation, but said "it's all data practices," referring to Minnesota's open public records law.
KSTP-TV, the ABC affiliate for the Twin Cities, reported Wednesday that the alleged drug-related incidents took place between January and March, 2016.
Late Wednesday night, the Star-Tribune reported that an unidentified Minnesota wrestler told the paper that Robinson collected about 1,400 Xanax pills that members of his team were ready to sell, yet did not report the drug issue to police.
The wrestler, who spoke to the Star-Tribune on the condition of anonymity, said he talked to police about Robinson's handling of the team's Xanax issue.
"It was $5 a pill for anyone on the team and $8 for anyone else," said the source, who estimates that 10 to 12 members of the team were abusing Xanax. He said wrestlers also sold pills to athletes from other Gophers sports.
While efforts to reach Robinson have been unsuccessful, the school's press department has issued statements.
"The University takes allegations of this nature seriously, and upon receiving information the University provided it to UMPD (University of Minnesota Police Department)," spokesperson Evan Lapiska wrote in a statement to the Star-Tribune. "In consultation with UMPD, the University is allowing for the legal investigation to conclude before conducting its own internal investigation. As it remains part of an active investigation, we do not have anything additional to share at this time."
Lapiska said that Robinson remains an active employee of the university. The spokesman added that incoming athletic director Mark Coyle is aware of the investigation and is monitoring it.
Lapiska also made clear that any information on student discipline would remain private, in compliance with FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a federal law which prohibits colleges and universities from releasing personally identifiable information derived from education records, including information regarding student disciplinary matters, even in cases of nationally-recognized student-athletes.
Xanax is a brand name for alprazolam, a prescription drug which is used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and anxiety caused by depression, according to Drugs.com. First introduced in 1969 by Upjohn (now Pfizer), Xanax is the 12th most widely prescribed medication in the U.S.
Xanax is not considered to be a performance enhancer. Nor is it a banned substance according to the NCAA. Therefore, any alleged use of Xanax on the part of student-athletes may not violate NCAA rules.
Wrestling has been on the roster at University of Minnesota since 1919. During that time, the Golden Gophers have won three NCAA team titles: 2001, 2002 and 2007. J Robinson was named head coach in 1986, making him the second-longest serving in Minnesota mat history (behind Wally Johnson, who was at the helm for 34 seasons immediately before J Rob). In his 30 seasons as head coach, Robinson has guided the Gophers to an overall record of 440-145-4, for a .747 winning percentage, the highest of any wrestling coach at the school.