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J Robinson placed on leave by new Minnesota AD

J Robinson, long-time head wrestling coach at the University of Minnesota, has been placed on paid administrative leave by the school's new athletic director, Mark Coyle, announced Wednesday.

J Robinson (Photo/Mark Beshey, The Guillotine)
Coyle said Robinson will remain on administrative leave through the completion of the school's internal investigation of allegations that some members of the Golden Gopher wrestling team may have used or sold Xanax, a prescription anti-anxiety drug.

Coyle, only in his second job as AD at Minnesota, informed Robinson of his decision privately before making a public appearance at an already-scheduled golf event for Minnesota athletics at a country club in Hutchinson, Minnesota, a community west of the Twin Cities, where he made the announcement to the press.

"[University of Minnesota] President [Eric] Kaler and I had conversations about [Robinson's leave] and given the seriousness of the allegations, and the beginning of the internal investigation with the office of the general counsel, I thought that was the best thing to do at this time," Coyle said.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune also reported Wednesday afternoon that the university police department was granted a warrant and recently searched Robinson's house in suburban Minneapolis, and that investigators are searching his personal computer.

The same newspaper reported last week that a Minnesota wrestler revealed four teammates had acquired 2,500 Xanax pills earlier this year and were selling them to teammates and others. The athlete, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said 10-12 teammates were also abusing the drug, and that Robinson had learned of the abuse and selling and offered to grant them amnesty if they confessed to him in written essays. The wrestler said his teammates turned over 1,400 Xanax pills to Robinson and the rest went "in the river."

Yesterday, J Robinson's agent, James C.W. Bock, issued a statement on behalf of the Minnesota mat coach, refuting some of the information that has been in multiple media reports since the first news story on the matter was broadcast by KMSP-TV, the Fox affiliate in the Twin Cities, and reported on by InterMat one week ago.

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 three NCAA team titles (2001, 2002, and 2007), and an overall record of 440-145-4, for a .747 winning percentage, the highest of any wrestling coach at the school.

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