Nobody At North Dakota State University Would Win An Award For Integrity Or Ethics


NDSU Bison football coach Craig Bohlhas been honored by the NCAA as national coach of the year for whatever arcane subdivision of collegiate football teams the Bison play in (I have to admit that the appeal college football eludes me). The honor, called the Eddie Robinson Award, is granted by sports writers, among others, and is intended to go to someone who is very good at winning football games.

Coach Bohl has proven he’s worthy of that honor. He has, indeed, produced football teams that win a lot of football games. Sadly, in his pursuit of winning football games, Coach Bohl (among other officials at North Dakota State University) has allowed integrity and ethics to take a back seat.

Earlier this year roughly a dozen members of Coach Bohl’s team were found to her perpetrated massive signature fraud on two ballot petitions. When the news broke, Bohl and other university officials immediately applied a double standard to the situation. Other players guilty of even minor infractions had been immediately suspended or even kicked off the team. But with Bohl and others, no doubt seeing their shot at another national championship on the line, announced initially that these players (among them several starters) should get their day in court before any team/university punishment was meted out. And then, before that day in court arrived, Bohl and NDSU Athletics Director Gene Taylor announced that they wouldn’t be handing out any punishment at all.

Thousands and thousands of signatures forged, but not a consequence in sight for the players. NDSU President Dean Bresciani has made noises about the possibility of the players having been punished in ways that federal privacy prevent them from disclosing, but let’s get real. Within the last week the suspensions of several members of NDSU’s softball team, resulting from a team party, were announced publicly. Earlier this year several hockey players at the University of North Dakota had their suspensions announced as well.

NDSU’s officials, from Coach Bohl up to President Bresciani, helped these football players avoid accountability for their criminal actions and have sought to cover the matter up from the public all because the players are elite athletes who win championships and bring prestige to the university.

But what’s more important? Winning football games, or ethics? Transparency? Accountability? For the leadership at NDSU, and many football fans int he public at large, winning football games is by far more important.

Coach Bohl’s award, and NDSU’s national championship this year (if they win one) should both come with asterisks attached.

Rob Port is the editor of 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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  • Mike Peterson


    • JW-American

      To add to Robs point if I may… if the NFL had a decent drug and Alcohol policy 3 people in the last 3 weeks would be live and well right now. But they don’t and won’t. Lance Armstrong got what he deserved, but what are the NFL players taking? Sadly no one brings that up do they? The double standard for foosball has always been on every campus. Do I have to mention Penn State? Thanks Rob for bring up what most of us think, but fail to say.

      • Rob

        You’re welcome.

  • spud

    They have been punished by the courts. Obviously not enough for your taste. When it gets wiped off there records after a year than what? This issue is done with. Rob you got defeated on most of your initiative stances this year handily. Being it the season of giving why not take a step back and let it go as you have been a big loser this year on the most issues you cared about. Repubs have never been in weaker spot this year, Obama never stronger, and Bison football is still on top. Merry Xmas let’s see if the new policy NDSU has taken with softball players goes all the way to the top of the tree which is football. You can continue to go after NDSU on this but frankly they don’t think your worth the sweat off their ass they have had to go to get where there at. Not something nice to say but you must know that is where things stand this issue is dead.

    • Rob

      They have been punished by the courts.

      Well the underage drinkers are punished by the courts too, but that doesn’t stop NDSU and the sports department from issuing punishment as well.

      I would think that a fan of NDSU football would want the program run with a little bit of integrity. Apparently not.

      • NDConservative2011

        Rob, your spot on ! Bresciani no doubt lacks in the integrity department as well with both Taylor and Bohl. Bresciani snowed the ND State Legislature by agreeing to a 2.5% raise in tuition, and only two weeks later he went back on his word and requested and received nearly a 9% raise in tuition from the Board of Higher Education. Talk about lack of integrity. Taylor knows that the women’s softball team is nowhere close to the notoriety of the football team, therefore the ladies are the group that are now paying for the non-punishment of the prema donnas known as NDSU Football. Double-Double Standard at best.
        The NCAA once again has proven that the only thing that apparently counts is winning – ethics be damned.
        NDSU has had a culture of dishonesty as well as a distain for integrity from the time that Chapman was president, and now the same culture is cultivated under the Bresciani administration including the athletic department. And worse yet, the Spuds of this world defend the indefenisible and condone the unethical behavior of the so called leadership of NDSU.
        It is really a shame that a college that is lacking the ideals which are normaly taught in most colleges will be the representative of North Dakota on a national level.
        What a shame and what a sham.

      • spud

        I believe after everything has happened changes will be implemented I hope the softball incident is example they will continue to follow. When NDSU decided to not suspend the players for one game which I agree was reasonable we knew how this was going to play out. Nobody was ever going to jail and when punishment was issued they would get suspended sentences and have opportunity to get these issues erased from there records. Now they have changed policy and issued suspensions on softball players. No one wants to hear of problems in any sports programs. Hopefully they will continue on this way with issues dealing with bad behavior. Your fascination on NDSU football after everything has been done with is sad. Move on though on January 6 or 7 2013 God willing they win another national championship (number 10 for team formally known as Sioux) you will write another blog admonishing them. Rob I hope NDSU gets it right this time but next time this happens to football program and we all know it will history has shown that at UND as well it will happen again I will admit to all they need a new beginning in sports programs there. I know what happened at UND with underage hockey players passed out was last straw for AD there punishment came from him not Hakstol. No matter if NDSU did or did not have some sort of internal punishment you will not be satisfied. Internal punishment should be up to AD to doled out. Will be waiting for your article on January 6th or 7th. Because you are consistent.

        • Rob

          believe after everything has happened changes will be implemented I hope the softball incident is example they will continue to follow.

          Ok, so you agree with me.

          Then why do you attack me every time I bring it up? This stuff isn’t going to happen if NDSU doesn’t feel pressure.

          • spud

            Rob you have had a beef with NDSU and higher ed for along time maybe even before the President’s house remodeling debacle. I have no problem with you going after first Chapman and Bresciani. Last night when I brought up Bohl’s award I was just having a little fun. If you think at the top they are feeling pressure from you well maybe they have someone looking at your blog daily and have read your newspaper editorials. The football team had gone through this and put it behind them obviously as they are at the top of there game. At least defense is offense been really slacking. The thing is your mind is already made up that NDSU didn’t change any policy. The football team is still going to play for it all on January 5th whether anyone is happy about it and most likely you will have have a blog piece coming out the 6th or 7th admonishing them again. I think knowing from the beginning they were not going to get anything more than suspended sentence even if they had received a one game suspension you were not going to be happy unless they were kicked out of school period. That was not going to happen. One game suspension should of been what happened but that is not what Bohl decided. In the end he should not have been the one to make that decision. Those of us who will be going to Frisco, TX know we can’t rewrite this chapter. You move on and try to correct bad decisions. It wouldn’t hurt once in awhile to remind everyone that 80% of players on this roster did nothing wrong. Criminal players thing you like to use is a little much when we all know down the road this episode will be erased from there records. I hope you prove me wrong on January 6 or 7.

          • Rob

            Well, yeah I have a beef with NDSU and higher Ed. For a lot of excellent reasons, too.

  • libertarian

    you are insane

  • libertarian

    a lot of bison envy in here. whatever it takes for you to discredit the best football program in fcs, cuz ur precious little und sioux are stinking it up

    • Rob

      I don’t give a rip about bison football, or sioux hockey either for that matter.

      I think collegiate sports are kind of boring, and I don’t really follow any of it (I’m a baseball guy).

      But it does amaze how many people try to dismiss NDSU’s serious ethics issues by suggesting complaints are motivated by the UND/NDSU rivalry.

      Seriously. Grow up.

      • dlao

        for somebody who doesn’t “give a rip”, you sure posted alot of articles over the last year involving them.

        • Rob

          Well I care about them in so far as they are a part of higher Ed policy.

          I don’t watch or anything.

      • libertarian

        if this were true than you would also be posting about UND’s mishaps. where was ur article on the players getting freshmen drunk? is hazing not worse than petition fraud? is somebodys life not more important than a ballot measure that can be voted on in the future? seems like ur the hypocrite

        • Rob

          I did post about UND’s problems. You see, they actually held their players accountable unlike NDSU.

  • banjo kid

    and neither would any one in all three houses in DC.

  • RCND

    They promised to put the football players in timeout…. after the championship game

  • Flatly porter

    Holy Schmidt fatty! Put down the chicken wing, the butthurt is flowing hard thru you. Sorry about the penis envy, I’m sur you’ll find some guy to help ya with that. NDSU players got same punishment in court as a regular joe. They have been dragged thru the mud WORSE than murdered (or und captains leaving drunk freshman at dorms to die!) big diff. Enjoy the natl champs ! Youre a pathetic person.

    • Rob

      Another literate, coherent, mature NDSU fan heard from.

      • Goon

        You really don’t expect NDSU fans to be mature or level headed. :) Anyways, I think that NDSU has egg on their face when it comes to this voter fraud incident.

        • Rob

          If Bison fans who troll here are representative of NDSU grads, I really worry about the academic standards there.

  • dlao

    “Nobody at NDSU would win an award for integrity or ethics” is the headline. This has to involve well over 20,000 people. You mean to tell me you have checked the character of everyone of the these people and every last one is a failure at ethics. I don’t understand your moral superiority over everyone, but then I am just a common man.

    • Rob

      Now you’re just being absurd. The point of the headline was clear, even if you want to pretend like it wasn’t.

      • dlao

        You want to say things you better be ready for people to point out what you say. Words mean things or do you have your own vocabulary, or just can’t stand the fact someone can point out your misgivings?

        • Rob

          What exactly are you pointing out?

          The point of the headline was to point out the lack of integrity and ethics which seems inherent to his NDSU is run.

          Of course there are good people at NDSU. I correspond with dozens who read this blog and agree with my criticism.

          You’re splitting hairs because you know Bohl and Taylor aren’t defendable on this.

    • Rob

      What I don’t understand us your willingness to give NDSU a pass on serious ethical problems just because you like the football team.

      • dlao

        I am not giving anyone a pass on anything. Just pointing out the obsurdity of the headline, which you do all the time with other journalists. But you made yourself clear, double standards work for Rob, but heaven forbid anyone else show any. You have access to all my posts, I challenge you to repost anything I ever posted excusing the conduct of any athlete at any school for any violation of anything.

        • Rob

          There is nothing wrong with the headline. NDSU has serious, institutional problems.

          But, according to you, they have a great football team so we should ignore it,

          • dlao

            Again, I ask you to show me any post I have made saying they are a “great football team”. All I have done on this issue is point out your hypocricy and obviously you can’t stand a little criticism.

          • Rob

            What you’ve done, on every NDSU Bison post, is complain about the fact that I even bring it up.

            There’s no hypocrisy here. I am being 100% consistent. NDSU has major problems, even if you don’t like people writing about it.

  • Dan

    I am shocked that you didn’t research your facts very well. The school administrators can’t treat every incident the same especially when the crimes have nothing to do with NDSU. Some crimes are more serious than others, if you don’t agree with that, take it up with the legislature. If you want to punish every kid beyond what the law requires for a misdemeanor offense, then what’s the purpose of laws.

    • Rob

      Of course NDSU could have punished these players. They just decided not to. Which is the entire problem.

      The facts are the facts, as much as you want to obfuscaste them.

      • Goon

        Actually NDSU could have punished all involved the first week of the football season when they played a very bad FCS school in their first game of the season.

        • Rob

          That would have been better, but this warranted more than z one game suspension.

          Still, sad the NDSU folks didnt even have the gumption for that.