U wrestling-real estate investigation taking longer than predicted

The University of Minnesota is taking longer than expected to wrap up an investigation into questionable real estate transactions among people involved with the Gophers wrestling team.

The U launched the internal probe in mid-December in reaction to a report from The Minnesota Daily, the campus paper. The school's head attorney, Mark Rotenberg, originally estimated the investigation would be completed around Jan. 1, but U spokesman Dan Wolter now says it probably won't be done until closer to the end of the month.

From the Dec. 12 Daily story that launched the investigation:

At least six wrestlers have owned property while on the team. Two others bought property from [head coach J Robinson] months after graduating. Shortly after leaving the team, an assistant coach acted as a real estate agent for a wrestler he helped recruit.

In total, people affiliated with the team have owned at least 55 different properties near campus, according to property records. This includes Robinson, two assistant coaches, a team staff member, a former assistant coach, a current wrestler and seven former wrestlers. All but one of the properties are located in the Marcy-Holmes and Southeast Como neighborhoods.

University Athletics Director Joel Maturi expressed surprise at the number of properties that have been owned by people with ties to the team in a recent interview with The Minnesota Daily.

"To say to you that I'm not concerned would not be entirely accurate," Maturi said.

The investigation will determine whether anyone connected to the team violated NCAA regulations, which prohibit a coach or anyone representing the interest of the team from giving athletes "extra benefits."

Wolter says U officials had a difficult time coordinating meetings during the holidays. He expects the investigation will be done in the next few weeks, but says there is no set deadline.

"You don't want to rush it," Wolter says.

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