NDSU Football Coach Craig Bohl Is An Enormous Hypocrite


The Fargo Forum has video up of NDSU Bison football coach Craig Bohl discussing the fraudulent petition scandal that broke yesterday with reporters.

It’s a revealing six minutes of video. Click here to watch it.

Bohl repeats over and over again (on purpose, no doubt) the mantra that has already been picked up by NDSU apologists. The football players “deserve their day in court.” But listen closely to the questioning. You’ll hear talk radio host Tom Becka as Bohl about the double standard between the way these players are being treated and the way linebacker Brandon Jemison, who was dismissed by the team last month for a much less serious incident, was treated.

Bohl’s defense is that the 8 Bison players (four of whom are starters) weren’t involved in any “violence” or “drugs” (he repeats that at two different points) so the situation is different than Jemison’s. But Jemison wasn’t involved in violence or drugs either but was dismissed from the team before he got his day in court. Two players dismissed in 2010 after being accused of theft didn’t meet Bohl’s standard either, but NDSU dismissed them from the team as well.

The point is, Bohl’s standards for these matters as he himself has described them don’t make sense. He wants us to believe that the difference between Jemison’s incident and the petition fraud incident is a matter of seriousness. But that’s ridiculous because Jemison’s incident was less serious.

Which leads us to what has to be the real motivation, which is that these players are much more important to the team. Jemison, though a starter in the past, was pretty much useless to the team because of injury. Holding him to a tough standard was easy. NDSU saying goodbye to eight players, including four starters, is much harder so suddenly NDSU adopts a different standard.

Which doesn’t speak very highly for the integrity of Coach Bohl or NDSU as an institution.

But remember that the first rule in North Dakota journalism is that the institutions of higher education – cash cows that they are for advertising dollars, sports coverage and crony capitalism – are untouchable in all but the most sensational of circumstances.

Update: The Grand Forks Herald isn’t satisfied with NDSU’s handling of this ugly affair either:

Most Americans will sympathize with the argument that the players deserve their day in court. And if NDSU consistently gave athletes the benefit of that doubt, Bohl’s reasoning would carry weight.

But to the best of our knowledge, when charges against athletes have been filed in the past, NDSU has not offered the benefit of the doubt. In August, NDSU dropped Jemison from the football roster in advance of his being charged with — not convicted of — indecent exposure. Last year, two players were kicked off the team after being charged with — not convicted of — stealing merchandise from Best Buy.

UND generally reacts in the same straightforward way. So do the police: When officers are suspected of a crime, they’re suspended while the investigation is ongoing. School districts hold teachers to that standard as well.

Fairness, consistency and example argue for NDSU to act now, not to wait until a jury reaches a verdict (which may not happen until football season is over in any case).

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Geoff

    Give it a rest rob. You must have set a record. Four posts on the same story in 24 hours. What the hell is your issue with bison football? Did you get cut from the jv squad and now hate football?

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Or, alternatively, maybe what NDSU is doing is actually wrong, and I’m not blinded by sports partisanship.

      • Geoff

        Guarantee that by end of season some or all will get the boot.

        • RCND

          How can you guarantee something you have no control over?

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          Well sure, that will be convenient. At the end of the season.

    • leh

      So, if you are a “starter” there are different standards of trouble you can get into? I guess football has a different standard than equal treatment? Just another demo of higher education, not only in ND.

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        That’s exactly the problem. NDSU fans keep telling me what a “tough disciplinarian” coach Bohl is. But clearly the “toughness” of his discipline hinges on how important the players are to his program.

        • Geoff

          If you are correct then bohl is going down the same path as Hagar and his fate will be sealed

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            How can I not be correct? The evidence is in front of us.

          • Geoff

            Then give it time and all will get the boot including bohl

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Well sure, why don’t we wait until after the season.

            I’ll start dieting, too, as soon as I’m done with these cupcakes.

          • Geoff

            Rob ” how can I not be correct”? One name already removed from the list. I don’t know rob. How can you not be correct?

        • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

          The teams going to be far weaker because Bohl allows these cancers to represent the school on the football field.

    • Portly fat guy

      TYPICAL UND FAN. BUTTHURT RIGHT PORTLY? Jealousy and envy is very painful to deal with

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        Actually, I’m not a UND fan at all. I’m a critic of higher education in general, and what NDSU is doing is shameful.

        This isn’t about sports rivalry, even though children like you think it is.

        • spud

          They will get a fine and unsupervised probation and you are making it out to be murder. Maybe some community service and we have not allowed them to have there day in court which will be after season is over you know it I know it we all know it. The worst they deserved was a 1 game suspension. Ask any defense attorney they will get a slap on the wrist. Last night a star was born named Julian Castro and you put up another thread on the Bison over something where the alleged culprits real punishment will be the embarrassment they caused to themselves there family and fellow student athletes and NDSU. Making a bigger deal out of the actual punishment that will come of it is just you being a blowhard.

  • John Wayne -American

    Move along… nothing to see here folks, keep moving…. ~Joe Paterno et. el

  • jamermorrow

    My guess is they are going to figure out who actually was involved and orchestrated the scam. Maybe they are all equally guilty. I am sure once the facts are figured out a few of them will be off the team.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Which isn’t the standard they applied before, first of all, and second will conveniently allow them to likely play the entire season before these guys face anything resembling justice.

      • jamermorrow

        What happened to innocent until proven guilty? I don’t think its worth destroying a young kids football career for a minor misdemeanor. If they have a record of this behavior than fine but don’t ruin somebody’s life for some minor offense. I am sure not all of them are equally guilty.

      • sming01

        because they DONT KNOW YET. do you not get it?

        • jimmypop

          this is what none of them see……FOOTBALL BAD….. not, wait for charges or admission of guilt.

          how can you kick guys off the team if you dont know if they even did it? my guess is they are not confessing to anyone. right now its a list of names. nobody knows if EVERYONE was involved or just a couple of them.

          and as i said, if after he finds out and STILL keeps them, the coach needs to be fired.

  • ec99

    “Which doesn’t speak very highly for the integrity of Coach Bohl or NDSU as an institution.”
    Where on earth did you ever get the idea there was any integrity in big time college athletics?

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      Where did you get the idea that NDSU feetsball was “big time college athletics?”

      • Rick Olson

        “That evil foosball!” says Bobby Boucher’s mother in “The Waterboy.”

      • ec99

        Not my opinion. That of the coach the fans and the school.

  • Captornado

    I fully expect the implicated players to have their day in court and be punished. I also expect that day to happen sometime AFTER the playoffs!

    • RCND

      I was thinking it would happen immediately after graduation actually

      • jimmypop

        blame the AG for taking so long to charge and/or arrest, not the coach.

        and its not the AG’s fault either. he has got to be 110% correct on charges liek this. regardless of who he charged. these are things you CANNOT screw up.

  • Disappointed

    This was over the top. You’ve jumped the shark. I’m not sure why you think it appropriate to use outrageous headlines tearing people before you know all of the facts related to this issue? You are capable of so much more.

  • NDSuperman

    So, it seems that your whole argument is mute if Jemison was never booted from the team, right?
    Do we know the whole story of why Jemison was removed (He is still a student and didn’t even loose his scholarship)? Maybe Bohl regretted his decision when Jemison was booted…maybe not. The point is that we don’t know, but this seems to me to be a step in the right direction.
    Look, I get your frustration with higher ed…and I share it, but I think that what we should be after here is justice…individual justice.

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      It’s also related the NDSU players involved in the Best Buy theft ring.

      • NDSuperman

        very well…let’s include them too…and every other instance from the beginning of time up until this moment..does that change my point? I think not.

        • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

          I think it comes down to whether or not you want alleged criminals representing your college on the playing field. At this point I think that there is a place for NDSU to look at the nature of the evidence and make a decision of what’s best for the University.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            And it’s not just that. It also comes down to whether or not NDSU is going to handle these issues based on how good the players are.

            It’s clear that, right now, better players are held to a lower standard.

          • NDSuperman

            How do we know that isn’t exactly what they have done?

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      The players are going to get individual justice, but NDSU as an institution is showing an utter lack of integrity by holding players to different standards based on their importance to the program.

      Sorry, but those are the facts.

      • NDSuperman

        Why are you apologizing to me for the facts? Look…I get the facts…I understand the facts…the facts are not oblivious to me. What I’m asking is would your feelings on the matter change if Jemison and the 2 kids at Best Buy were treated the same as this election fraud group? I would guess that they (your feelings) would not.

      • borborygmi

        Thats right they should reinstate Jemmison

  • Portly fat guy

    Jemison was sexual. This petition crap is not. Can your fat eyes not see that ?

    • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

      These guys were trying to steal an election resulting in billions of dollars off impact.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      The subversion of the democratic process cost the people who worked to put those ballots on the measure tens of thousands of dollars.

      This is much more serious than what Jemison did.

      • Sloppy joe

        I would say having your penis exposed in a semi-aroused state is fairly serious.

      • Robdoesntreallygetit

        Considering how one act traditionally has lead to people having to register as sex offenders I’m not sure your logic is even close to correct Rob.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          The watering down of our seed offender laws is an issue of much national debate, but whatever.

          The fact is the petition signatures represented fraud on a large scale, impacting tens of thousands of people, and shouldn’t be diminished because you like the football team.

  • Johnny

    It is interesting to do a simple search of the court records of the accused players. One of them in particular has quit a number of traffic violations, obviously not serious, but several driving with a suspended license and a couple in the last 3 months. Also an alcohol violation as well, I’m not saying this should get a player kicked off, but how much leash with this player be given?

  • stever1

    According to NDSU’s Code of Student Conduct, there should have been some type of action.

    According to NCAA rules, athletes paid for work in a fraudulent scheme should cause its school to be punished.

    Last week, UND suspended two players for missing class during the week. But defrauding ND voters at NDSU does not exceed the skipping class standard?

  • Question

    Have the actual charges been filed yet? I know the AG issued the press release, but I haven’t been able to find anything to indicate that the charges have actually been filed with the Court. It seems odd that the press release came out so far ahead of the actual criminal complaint(s). I would like to see the specifics about what each individual is alleged to have done. Does anyone know where a copy of the complaint(s) can be found? Thanks.

  • sming01

    players havent been charged yet. why is it a big deal everytime ndsu players do something? the media gets up in arms. last year und football players were received drug charges. where was the media then? the media is mostly anti-ndsu, as you can easily tell from this blog. now i am not excusing what they did, but they havent been charged yet and theirs too any details to sort out before you can ounish them. btw stick to political matters

  • jimmypop

    sorry bison haters, if charges have not be filed or they have not admitted dong this, nobody should be kicked off the team.

    for right or wrong, we must assume the measure of ‘guilt’ from bohl has been admitting something or being charged based on these other kids being kicked off the team, right? if he holds these kids after they are charged (or admit they did it), the university needs to look at firing HIM and these kids well as booting these kids.

    ideally the AG charges them today or friday.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Oh give me a break with your hair-splitting. Their going to be charged and everybody knows it. NDSU is applying a double standard.

  • bisonfan

    suspend them 2 games, then its over with. They should not be kicked off.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Because they’re starters, and starters get held to different standards right?

  • jimmypop

    now charges have been filed….now they should be suspended or cut. if the coach doesnt, he needs to be fired.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Who are you kidding? They have a game on Saturday.

  • Pjjj

    Your an idiot