Trouble in Gopher city

thethirdeyebwIt’s been said what’s done in the dark often comes out in the light. Borrowing from a famous tune in The Music Man: We got trouble, my friend, right here in Gopher city with a capital ‘G’ and it rhymes with ‘P’ which stands for “Pinch Daddy,” otherwise known as former Minnesota AD Norwood Teague, who crossed the line with a couple of female co-workers.

We got trouble, my friend, right here in Gopher city, with a capital ‘O’ which stands for overspending. As an outside auditor discovered last year, Teague seemingly did everything from buying a snow shovel for his home, to checking into high-priced hotel rooms for conferences and tournaments, and buying rounds of drinks, which he put it on the university’s tab like Norm from Cheers.

We got trouble, my friend, right here in Gopher city, with a capital ‘G’ and it rhymes with ‘P’ and it stands for Coach Richard Pitino, whose basketball team poorly performed at an all-time program worst. “Young Pitino” also loves the suite life, taking trips in private planes and overspending on it as well as other luxuries, seemingly under a carte blanche edict from his old AD.

Under his watch, the players posted sex videos like they’re in film school rather than working on their post-up moves, and suspending players as a result. Perhaps Pitino as a big-time college coach — and we say that with tongue planted in cheek since we’re talking about Gopher men’s basketball — was over his head. Which may explain his overspending — if you can’t be big, act like it instead.

We got trouble, my friend, right here in Gopher city with a capital ‘J’ for Wrestling Coach J Robinson. Some of his wrestlers acted like Superfly and pushed illegal pills at discount prices — five bucks for wrestlers and eight bucks for non-wrestlers. It’s a sad argument for those of us who are advocates for athletes getting paid. We didn’t say getting high on Xanax, a prescribed psychiatric drug often abused if not used properly.

The Minneapolis local daily newspaper reported that the longtime Gopher coach told his pushers/players, “If you have any pills, bring them to my office and I’ll dispose of them, and I’ll give you amnesty.”

We got trouble, my friend, right here in Gopher city with a capital G and it rhymes with ‘C’ for cover-up. Robinson, after he learned his players acted like Freddie, asked them to write one-page papers on the ills of selling drugs. This resembles the late Nancy Reagan advising America to “Just Say No” as a deterrent to drug use. And we all know how that went.

We got trouble, my friend, right here in Gopher city with a capital G and it rhymes with ‘T’ for Robinson facing possible termination for “failure to report any and all serious, major or secondary violations which, in the judgment of the university, coach knew or should have known about with reasonable diligence and oversight.”   That fine print is on all the coaches’ contracts, including Robinson’s, who has coached at the school for three decades.

We got trouble, my friend, right here in Gopher city with a capital ‘F’— for the federal investigation still underway regarding whether the school is being equitable when it comes to men’s and women’s athletics. This problem has been overlooked and definitely is not being talked about much around Dinkytown.

We got trouble, my friend, right here in Gopher city with a capital G and it rhymes with ‘C’— for new Gopher AD Mark Coyle, hired in May as the White Knight to lead an athletic department  that clearly has gone amok.  He becomes the master of the “fortress” or the isolationist environment, as Natasha Moore called Gopher Athletics in a recent MSR two-part story on the climate that existed when she ran track for the school.

We got trouble, my friend, right here in Gopherland with a capital G and it rhymes with ‘V’ as in the athletic village, now being built behind Bierman.  If Gopher sports were isolated without it before, just wait until this real fortress is finished.

Gopher sports — save the winning women’s hockey and volleyball teams — has been losing on the court and on the field, especially the soon-to-be completed 2015-16 season and school year. If only Gopher city’s problems were about losing teams instead of scandalous headlines and laughing stock reviews around the country in recent weeks and months.

If another song could be borrowed, Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” might suffice.

 

Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman@spokesman-recorder.com.