Exclusive: Pulitzer Prize Winner Tailing Buckeyes

Today I confirmed that the last sports reporter to win the Pulitzer Prize, current SPORTS ILLUSTRATED contributor George Dohrmann, has recently been in Columbus investigating the Ohio State football program.

George Dohrmann's Pulitzer Prize Reporting Led To Clem Haskins' Ouster At Minnesota

(Dohrmann’s reporting led to the end of Clem Haskins at Minnesota)

In 1999, it was Dohrmann’s exhaustive, investigative reporting for the ST. PAUL PIONEER-PRESS uncovering academic fraud within the University of Minnesota basketball program that led to the forced departure of coach Clem Haskins, subsequent NCAA sanctions against the school, and a Pultizer Prize for the Dohrmann.

Though Dohrmann burst on the national media scene reporting a college basketball story, as recently as last football season he broke a story that foreshadowed the impending mess wrought by Jim Tressel & Co.

Last October, Dohrmann convinced former NFL agent Josh Luchs to admit on the record that the ex-agent paid thousands of dollars to dozens of college football players - along with providing meals, trips and concert tickets - in an Oct. 18, 2010, SI cover story titled, “Confessions of an Agent.

Interestingly, Luchs’ client list included notorious Ohio State football player Maurice Clarett and a well-funded pursuit of another former Buckeye star.

Excerpt from Luchs’ account to Dohrmann:

“In November 2005, Steve (Feldman) and I flew to Ohio State to talk to receiver Santonio Holmes. We met him outside the football building, and he said, ‘Listen, I want to save you the time. We don’t need to meet. I’ve been taking money from [an agent] the last couple years, and he’s been taking care of my family too.’

“Had it been 10 years earlier, I would have probably said, ‘Santonio, whatever he’s paying you, I’ll double it.’ But now, being at Gersh, I had Hollywood to sell. Let the other agents pay kids.”

Feldman, a current NFL agent who has represented multiple pro football Hall of Famers over the past three decades, later confirmed to Dohrmann that Holmes told him and Luchs that an agent was paying the then-current Buckeye football player.

Feldman also told HBO Real Sports last March that he actually witnessed that conversation between Luchs and Holmes.
Through the New York Jets, Holmes denied the claims made by Luchs and Feldman.

After the allegations about Holmes being paid by an agent during his Ohio State days surfaced - courtesy Dohrmann’s report - the COLUMBUS DISPATCH reported Jim Tressel’s reaction:

Tressel said he saw no signs of Holmes being improperly involved with agents while at Ohio State from 2002 through 2005.

… Tressel said assistant coach Darrell Hazell called Holmes after the story broke.

“His statements to Darrell put your mind at ease,” Tressel said. “You’re always concerned when anything is brought up.”

“In fact, I remember Darrell sat through the agent interviews with (Holmes) as kind of his sounding board,” Tressel said.

Of the agent business in general, Tressel said he tells players, “There’s 1,200 registered agents, and only 300 have clients. And that leaves 900 desperate folks, and desperate people do desperate things.”

… OSU compliance officials have said they are looking into the allegation.

Tuesday afternoon in Columbus WBNS-AM talk show host Scott Torgensen, who does a midday show on the official broadcast outlet for Ohio State football games, claimed on the air that Sports Illustrated was set to publish a damaging investigative piece written by Dohrmann about Ohio State football - “on Tuesday“:

“George Dohrmann, the guy’s who is writing the article, and it’ll be out Tuesday, has spent about six weeks writing this article.  About three weeks ago he was in Columbus for a week. A Monday through Thursday type thing. Last week he was in Columbus. I can tell you I know he went to the state pen and visited this tattoo artist from a place called “Dudley’s. I don’t know what that has to do with this story.

“One of my sources talked to Dohrmann yesterday, I actually had this guy talk to Dohrmann to fish about what the article is going to be about for me. So this is from Dohrmann, not from me, this is what I heard. Dohrmann told this guy that SI executive editors are salivating over the article. The quote was [from the source] ‘it’s going to be bad for Tress. … it’s something new and it’s big-time, it goes back to when Tress was at Youngstown.’ I was told that it’s all new stuff.

” … I don’t know who he (Dohrmann) was talking to or what it’s going to be about, I’m just telling you that it’s going to be next Tuesday, I know that George Dohrmann is a Pultizer Prize-winning investigative reporter.”

From talking to someone today who has intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the editorial operation at Sports Illustrated, I can confirm that Torgensen has something in common with Dohrmann: the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist doesn’t know what his story will be about either.

Because it hasn’t been written. Nor has the decision been made by Dohrmann to write such a piece. Or by Sports Illustrated to publish it.

Yes, Dohrmann has been in Columbus chasing down leads but no, there are zero immediate plans for a story from him about Ohio State football to be published in Sports Illustrated.

Follow Brooks on Twitter or join him on Facebook for real-time updates.

Why Dungy, Not AD, Making Gopher Coach Hire

Tim Brewster, owner of a 15-30 record (6-21 Big 10) as head football coach at the University of Minnesota, was fired over the weekend by school athletic director Joel Maturi.

Tony Dungy at Minnesota

(Dungy was Mayor of Dinkytown in early ’70s)

Maturi, who authorized a $600,000 buyout to make Brewster go away, is the same guy who hired Brewster in 2007 and inexplicably propped up his guy with a generous contract extension before the 2009 season.

Immediately after Brewster’s hire in 2007, Bob Sansevere of the ST. PAUL PIONEER-PRESS wrote of Maturi’s hire:

University of Minnesota athletics director Joel Maturi went the riskier route. He chose Brewster to be the Gophers’ latest football coach. Maturi is gambling Brewster will succeed. He also is gambling his own reputation… as well as his job security. There is no bigger hire a major college athletics director can make than when he brings in a new football coach.

If Brewster doesn’t pan out, Maturi could be out — and should be out.

By listening to Maturi Sunday you’d have never known that Brewster, a virtual unknown hastily hired by the athletic director without normal school protocol despite never having been a head coach or coordinator in college or the NFL, was the same guy Maturi promised would return the downtrodden Gopher football program back to national prominence.

During his press conference to announce Brewster’s firing, Maturi said that before he hired the coach, “To be honest, I’d never heard of Tim Brewster.”

Then there was this flippant quip from Maturi about Brewster:

“You’re not following Vince Lombardi here.

“This is a situation where, you know what, somebody can come in and win some games and people are going to feel good about him and they win a few more games and they’re going to feel really good about him.

“And if we go to the Rose Bowl, we might even put a statue of them outside of TCF Bank Stadium.”

It’s too easy to take cheap shots at an outgoing coach, especially one you’ve hired and staked your reputation to. So let’s look back at what Maturi had to say about the same Coach Brewster earlier this year:

He’s grown into the job. I like the staff [Brewster] has assembled. I like the kids. I’m feeling really optimistic. We’ll evaluate everything at the end, as we always do, but he’s got four years [remaining] on his contract, and I fully expect he will be here for them.

If only Maturi was as good at hiring football coaches as he is at manipulating the school administration and media in order to save his own skin.

By leaking Tony Dungy as a possible candidate for the Gopher coaching job, Maturi forced the school’s most prominent football alum to take notice of the Gopher program.

Speaking on the condition of anonymonity, two current athletic directors at BCS schools and a prominent employee of a coaching search firm told me Monday that Maturi is using Dungy as cover from irate members of the Minnesota administration and prominent donors to the school. Read more…

Prized Recruit Quits Gophers Hoops On Youtube

Myron P. Medcalf of the MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE introduces us to the newest generation of basketball stars, University of Minnesota basketball player Royce White.

Royce White Quits Minnesota Gophers Hoops On Youtube Video

White, who is currently under investigation for stealing a laptop, said on his own Youtube video today that he is quitting the Gophers basketball team because the police inquiry is taking too long. Medcalf:

Minnesota freshman forward Royce White, who was suspended indefinitely due to legal troubles, says he can’t wait any longer for the completion of an on-campus burglary investigation that’s played a key role in keeping him sidelined and away from the team.

The Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office told Medcalf the process could take a month.

Video of the *dramatic* video after the jump. Read more…

Gophers’ DB Allegedly Kicked The Hell Out Of Girl

What good conflict management is: a peaceful talking through of grievances and differences, toward the goal of resolving the problem through compromise instead of violence.

Nathan Tow-Arnett
(Seems like a pretty chill bro.)

What good conflict management isn’t: breaking up an argument between two girls by grabbing one by the throat, slamming her against the wall, and then kicking her repeatedly while she’s on the ground. That seems like a pretty substantial departure from the good qualities, really, but if allegations made to the ST. PAUL PIONEER-PRESS are true, Nathan Tow-Arnett never got that memo.

Read more…

Gophers Locker Room Includes Fake Title Trophy?

Part of the reinvention process that Tim Brewster has been helping the Minnesota Golden Gophers undertake - and lord knows they need it - is a return to their glory days of several decades ago. That means no more Metrodome; instead, they’ve got a brand-new open-air joint, TCF Bank Stadium, with state of the art facilities. The problem, however, is that Tim Brewster is in charge of this reinvention, so literally anything is possible.

Fake Minnesota Coaches' Trophy
(Hey, that looks pretty nice.)

As EDSBS noted this morning, the most immediately noticeable aspect of the new locker room in the tour that Brewster gives out on YouTube is the giant flashing M on the ceiling for no apparent reason. There’s also a glassed-off locker dedicated to famous Minnesota coach Murray Warmath, whose name is awesome*. Inside the locker is the iconic “crystal football” trophy for Warmath’s 1960 national title with Minnesota, the last in Gophers history. It’s a perfect reminder that expectations in Minnesota are for a title and nothing less.

One little problem, though; the title was in the 1960 season, but the “crystal football” trophy wasn’t first issued until 1986.

Read more…

Naughty Goldy Gopher Mocks Penn State, Jesus

Did University of Minnesota mascot Goldy Gopher go too far when he mimicked Penn State defensive end Jerome Hayes praying in the end zone on Saturday? The guy who shot this video (seen following the jump) obviously thinks so.

Goldy Gopher

“He clearly mocked his prayer. That’s not cool,” says the camera operator, who is apparently a Penn State fan annoyed with the gopher’s antics. What was Hayes’ reaction? Will Goldy have to answer to a higher authority? And by “higher authority,” do I mean Joe Paterno?

Answers, and the video, following the jump. Read more…

Speed Read: Wait - WSU Cougar RB Almost Died?

It’s not often that injury news takes us completely aback, but that’s absolutely the case over in Pullman tonight. One slightly mentioned aspect of last weekend’s game pitting Washington State against Southern Methodist was WSU’s tailback, James Montgomery, suffering an apparent knee injury. Not that those aren’t serious, but, y’know… they happen.

James Montgomery WSU

But one thing that doesn’t usually happen is a potentially fatal injury that nobody recognizes immediately. That’s what apparently befell Montgomery during the game; after the game, he reported increasing discomfort with the knee, and went in for surgery on Sunday morning. It probably saved his life.

Read more…

Lou Holtz Considering FL Congressional Campaign

To look through the stories SPORTSbyBROOKS has written about Lou Holtz over the years is to jump down a rabbit hole into an abyss of utter insanity. In the past year alone, the Elmer Fudd of college football has conquered Japan, praised Adolf Hitler’s leadership skills, dressed up as a fake psychiatrist, and stuck up for a race-baiting Dixiecrat politician. Interesting career moves for anyone, let alone one of ESPN’s premier college football experts.

Lou Holtz

Perhaps sensing that the Worldwide Leader in Sports is not the ideal milieu for the unhinged rantings of an old, rich white man, serial job-hopper Holtz is reportedly considering an all-new career that fits his personality better: Republican Congressman from Florida.

Read more…

Former Gopher B-Baller Freaks Out At Pigs, Man

Former Minnesota Golden Gopher basketball player Shane Schilling has had a rough time of it since he was kicked off the team before his junior year. In 2005, he managed to get hurt when he was hit by a car while trying to cross the freeway. Then in 2007, he was convicted of attempted robbery after punching a Minnesota student in the face on campus while fleeing the law on a car theft charge.

Shane Schilling

But that pales in comparison to what happened to him on Monday night. The MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE says that Schilling was arrested after keeping police at bay from his apartment for more than three hours during a meth-fueled stand-off. FROM THE BARN points out that Schilling is continuing his basketball legacy of not living up to expectations, although based on his previous history, a drug-crazed freak out really shouldn’t be considered that unexpected.

Read more…

Hottie Hockey Playing Sisters Heading Back Home

It’s been some tough times for the University of North Dakota. The state’s Board of Higher Education had recently ruled that the school must drop its beloved but controversial “Fighting Sioux” nickname by October 1, unless it can get the okay from the state’s two Sioux Indian tribes to let the college keep it. But now things are looking up for the soon-to-be non-Sioux.

Monqiue and Jocelyne Lamoureux

The two ladies pictured above are Jocelyne & Monique Lamoureux. So why should a pair of hockey playing sisters cheer up the (still) Sioux nation - especially a pair that plays for UND’s hated rival, the Minnesota Golden Gophers? Because the Lamoureux sisters are coming home to Grand Forks, having announced that they are transferring to North Dakota.

Oh, and they’re pretty cute, too.

Read more…