J Robinson has guided Minnesota to three NCAA titles (Photo/David Peterson)
Gophers wrestling coach J Robinson, who allegedly found out about some members of his team selling and using Xanax in March, told University of Minnesota police a month later the matter had been "fully taken care of," according to a search warrant affidavit obtained by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune Tuesday.
Campus police have been conducting a criminal investigation into a team member's disputed allegation that Robinson attempted to cover up allegations that four Minnesota wrestlers had been selling Xanax to fellow students, and that ten student-athletes were using the prescription anti-anxiety drug.
After being alerted to the allegations, Robinson told the team in March that anyone who was involved in the use or sales of drugs had until the end of the month to report that information to him and turn in any drugs they may have. At that point, Robinson said those team members would be granted immunity, according to the affidavit, which had been issued April 21.
According to Robinson's attorney Ryan Kaess, the coach gave wrestlers who came to confess a form he had created with check boxes indicating whether they had bought, used or sold the drug. When Robinson received the completed forms, he discussed them with the athletes and then threw them away, Kaess said. Robinson told the wrestlers to report to the athletic trainer to begin the school's "Safe Harbor" program, which protects athletes from drug test-related punishments if they self-report. Student-athletes in the program are temporarily ineligible to participate in university sports. The affidavit stated that, once the forms were turned in, Robinson gave those wrestlers immunity and considered the matter closed.
According to the affidavit, Robinson met with University of Minnesota police officers April 12 but refused to provide them with wrestlers' names, documents in his possession and other information pertinent to the investigation. "Robinson said that he would provide more detailed information beyond possession and use by his players if we could grant his players immunity," university investigator Aaron Churness wrote in the report.
Two days later, campus police tried to interview wrestlers. When officers arrived at the students' classes, they were not present, according to the affidavit. When contacted again, the informant told police that Robinson had alerted some wrestlers that they were being investigated and recommended they seek legal counsel.
The university police then issued a search warrant directed at both Robinson and the 14 wrestlers alleged to be involved, which was served April 15. Investigators seized three computers, a DVD drive, 15 storage drives and an iPhone from Robinson's office at the Bierman Athletic Building, according to the warrant.
Through his agent, Robinson has insisted he followed proper channels by alerting both his direct supervisor and then-interim Athletics Director Beth Goetz of his suspicions that some of his wrestlers were using Xanax.
On June 1, Minnesota's new athletic director Mark Coyle told Robinson that he would be on paid administrative leave, suspended of all coaching duties, and not allowed to be on campus. All J Robinson wrestling camps originally scheduled to take place at the University of Minnesota campus were relocated to the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
The investigation by the University of Minnesota Police remains open; coach Robinson remains on paid administrative leave as the school continues its investigation. However, earlier this week, Hennepin County prosecutors announced they were not planning to charge a University of Minnesota wrestler with selling Xanax, saying there was "insufficient evidence at this time."
J Robinson was named head coach of the Minnesota wrestling program in 1986. In his 30 years at the helm, the Golden Gophers won three NCAA team titles in 2001, 2002 and 2007. Robinson has led Minnesota to an overall record of 440-145-4, for a .747 winning percentage, the highest of any wrestling coach in the nearly 100 years of the program's existence.