Mason addresses recruiting concerns

Gopher football coach Glen Mason met the media Thursday and gave his thoughts on the potential scandal brewing in his program.

Recent reports have indicated that Gopher recruits were taken to strip clubs and given alcohol during their official visits to the U of M.

Mason, who had just returned from a recruiting visit, met this morning with athletic director Joel Maturi, who briefed his coach on the pertinent issues before Mason met with the media. Mason said he still doesn't have all the facts regarding the allegations but said he would do whatever was necessary to find out what happened and address the concerns.

The story broke when Hutchinson HS offensive lineman Lydon Murtha reneged on his verbal commitment to Minnesota and decided to enroll at Nebraska. Murtha has mentioned to some media outlets that incidents that happened on his visit in December "shocked" him and caused him to rethink his initial plans.

"A story was going around about what happened that weekend," Mason said. "I acted upon a rumor that had nothing to do with any individual player, but I found out that some things (happened) I didn't not agree with. They were not unlawful or unethical, but I didn't agree with them. I told the players in no uncertain terms what I stand for and what this program stands for."

Without mentioning the player's name, Mason indicated that Murtha – who committed to Minnesota as a junior – had numerous contacts with Mason after his recruiting visit last month, and never mentioned a problem. After he heard about Murtha's plans to visit Nebraska, he called the player, who reassured the coach that he just wanted to make sure he was making the right decision. And Mason said Murtha has not returned any of his calls since he announced he was committing to the Cornhuskers.

Mason said when he sends his players out with recruits, he doesn't give them specific instructions about what's not allowed, but rather, he tells them to "do the right thing" and rely on their judgment and common sense.

"I'm not a parent to these kids, but I am in a position of responsibility so I try to prepare them for anything that can pop up," Mason said. "But hey, even President Bush's daughter got cited for underage drinking, I think … and he's got the Secret Service on his side."

Mason said the diverse backgrounds of his players can lead to difficulties in creating standards they all understand and can live with.

"I've got a lot of kids on my team, (from) all walks of life – young and old, rich and poor, 4.0's and kids (for whom) it's a struggle every day. … And they all know, if they don't do the right thing they're going to be held accountable by me. I've demonstrated that over and over and over."

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