Shameful: NDSU Officials Say There Will Be No Suspensions Over Massive Petition Fraud

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Earlier this week, as news about 10 current NDSU football players fraudulently submitting tens of thousands of petition signatures broke, the mantra from NDSU officials was that the players should “get their day in court” before any punishments were handed down.

That despite other NDSU football players, accused of less serious crimes, getting dismissed from the team immediately.

Now, just days later and before anyone got their “day in court” (but after the players admitted that they were guilty) NDSU officials are saying there won’t be any consequences for them.

That’s the stance athletics director Gene Taylor and football coach Craig Bohl are taking, and NDSU President Dean Bresciani is saying he won’t get involved.

“There are not going to be any suspensions,” Taylor emphatically said after the game. “These kids don’t deserve a suspension. I’m not going to suspend them and neither is Craig (head coach Craig Bohl). As far as we are concerned, it is over.”

This statement was made with NDSU President Dean Bresciani standing only a few feet away. Bresciani said he did not want to comment, saying he does not comment on inner-department matters.

This is outrageous. These players didn’t have some momentary lapse of judgment. They purposefully generated nearly 25,000 fraudulent petition signatures for two different measures, defrauding those who had hired them to collect the petitions, those who organized the committees supporting the measures, those who contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to advertise for those measures and the voters of North Dakota who now won’t get a chance to vote on these measures for at least another couple of years, if ever.

“What’s going to happen in court, in my opinion, is going to be a lot less than what people think,” Taylor said after today’s game in which the criminal players were allowed to play. “At the end of the day, these kids have been through enough.”

They haven’t been through anything, because the ethically bankrupt leadership at NDSU is letting them get away with it. They’ll certainly be convicted of a Class A Misdemeanor (just one step below a felony) and faces fines and, less probably, jail time. But they’ll be allowed to continue their athletic careers assured in the knowledge that being an elite athlete means they get held to a lower standard.

In an ideal world, the state’s political leadership would get involved and force a more just outcome (and perhaps question why Taylor, Bohl and others still have their jobs after this), but remember that this is the state that didn’t prosecute anyone after Dickinson State University handed out hundreds of fraudulent diplomas.

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. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Question

    I’m not sure if it is a lower standard or not. Consider current or past coaches or boss’s you may have had. If you or a another player/co-worker had exposed yourself to a young lady, what would have happened? Similarly, if you had admitted to a class a misdemeanor that did not involve violence, sex or drugs/alcohol, would anything different have happened?

    • ndoldman

      How ever this is a university training people how to “lead-?” have classes on “ethics” so much for that ,

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Sorry, but this level of fraud – nearly 25,000 fraudulent signatures! – is every bit as bad as what Jemison did, and quite a bit worse to my mind.

      Quit making excuses for them.

  • vossiegirl

    For those of us that live out of state, you should have mentioned what the Petitions were about, None the less, Is not lieing and deceit a problem any longer. Well I guess if our President can do it, others can do it also.. What have we become!

    • Roy_Bean

      This involves election fraud, putting the question of legalizing marijuana and redistributing tax money to left-wing environmental groups on the ballot. For the liberal democrats who run NDSU, and the whole ND university system, it’s hard to realize that election fraud is really wrong. Nobody was punished for stuffing Al Franken into the Senate. We have the U.S. Attorney General defending election fraud in several states. Florida has been told not to try to determine if voters are alive or ever even existed in the first place. No states are supposed to try to identify anyone who wants to vote. I can understand how liberal democrats don’t see this as anything particularly important.

      • sbark

        The Dem’cats have disregarded the Rule of Law…………since laws were made. Note FDR’s attacks on the Constituion to bring us to the economic precipice we now face and the threat to pad the SCOTUS to get what he wanted.
        This NDSU scandel, however disgusting, is a symptom of the steady erosion of simple Rule of Law, that greatly accelerated under the Obama Regime starteing with the New Black Panthers at the Precint and Chrysler Bond Holders being wiped out……….and then down from there.

  • VocalYokel

    “As far as we are concerned, it is over.”

    So move along folks…nothing to see here…just boys being boys.

    “At the end of the day, these kids have been through enough.”

    Don’t you think it would be fair to warn them that having been a Bison football player won’t get them a pass on Class A Misdemeanors in the real world?

  • Larry

    Its like both political parties, it’s not about right or wrong. It’s about the money. These coaches are judged on the number of games they win, not how they do it; and the money flows in from there. They are not going to jepordize the money unless forced by regulation. It is the dog eat dog of life, especially the life conservatives push in the world of money. No regulation, No help for the poor. No taxation to pay for the business (government) We the People have built. The destruction of SS, which has kept millions out of poverty, into a game of chance on Wall Street. Changing Medicare into a voucher system to make sure the insurance companies get their share of preying on the infirmed. Isn’t a conservative montra, If you don’t like America, leave. I hear a lot of hate from conservatives these days about not liking the US. Are there spenditures we need to cut? Can we do better? Your damn right we can. I’m with you all the way on that one……

    • sbark

      Where do I start–wow–just wow.—This proves the point: the USA can survive an Obama, A Clinton, A LBJ, a Carter, a FDR———–it cannot survive the people that will repeatedly vote for them…..
      your quote– No taxation to pay for the business (government) We the People have built…………………the govt is not a business, it produces nothing, it is a parasite when outside the bounds of its Constitutional powers, It has become a ever growing redistributor of wealth that skims off the top—can you say mafia?
      ;your quote– The destruction of SS, which has kept millions out of poverty………Id say it has prevented people from planning smarly for retirement for decades, SS is far beyond what even FDR envinisioned it as. It fully threatens to place a life of servitude if not permanent indebture to your children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren if not fixed……….solvency isnt good enough.
      For years we have heard SS is solvent for the foreseeable future………..That means they’ve again kicked the problem down the road to the next generation who cannot yet vote against a ponzi scheme that will ruin thier future.
      —– “Fixed” means that you have no problem. The cost to fix the system is 20.5 trillion dollars. Solvent means that you have made your problem a problem for someone else…….
      The answer to Medical Costs is not more Govt, medicare was the 1st govt intrusion into the market…….and now, as always, the Left proposes more govt action to “fix” the problem…………….but of course “its good for us” …good for the state—that we “all belong to”……
      USA Conservatives not liking America? ……….we are not the ones crapping on a USA Flag, or putting it on the ground for an Obama Event, We are not the ones bowing to a Muslim King, We dont pal around with the likes of America haters such as Ayers, Rev.Wright, Frank M. Davis, Farakahn, Huma. We are not the ones fighting just to say God in our National Convention platform. Its not our Hollywood actors that say they’re going to leave if GW is elected.
      Liberalims is the problem, Its historical legacy is 100% failure—-Liberalism is the problem, we just sit and beotch about its symptoms on a daily basis. Get rid of the problem, the symptoms also go away

    • ndoldman

      I guess when you have lived a utiopion lie all your life it is hard too see the truth, we have programs that our “careing liberial” government has in place to help the poor, why than does one need advocates and lawers to navigate the system in place? This also includes the school k-12 system, when your kid doesn’t fit the mold set in place so one is forced to drag the kid to the docter to put them on Thoarzine for the delight and entertainment of the teachers, you would not want to debate this fact with me as I have lived it, with my kids, so I guess your right liberalism does care ……. about themselves and its causes.

  • toomuchguvmint

    NDSU students are again denied the education that they deserve by greedy administration placing winning above following the law. Some NDSU students are forced to quit college when they break the law, others are given a wink. It is not surprising that the NDSU president says we are done talking about it. Is it any wonder we as a nation elect delinquents such as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

  • dlao

    there were more than the 10 ndsu football players involved in this. But reading Rob’s reports on it you would never know that. Come on Rob, why cant you give the names of the other people, what they do for a living, and if you think they should be sent packing for their involvement also. Once again you hatred for ndsu is duly noted.

    • Dakotacyr

      While I agree that Rob is overly harsh on the ND university system, in this case I agree with him 100%. The cavalier attitude by NDSU is shocking and wrong. I am sure that NDSU has a code of conduct and I am sure it has been violated. This is a incredibly bad move on the part of the university system and NDSU

      • dlao

        I think these players should face the consequeces also. But that is for the courts and the University to determine, not me. But Rob wants these 10 players gone now. There were 15 people arrested for this but who were the other 5, should they be fired from their job for their involvement. Rob only pours his hate on the players.

        • Dakotacyr

          Not quite true, the NDSU code of conduct applies to behavior on or off campus.

          • dlao

            all I ask is what about the other people involved? do they have no responsibility for their actions? Why is it only the football players anybody cares about? And what sentence there is “not quite true”?

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            All you’re trying to do is excuse these players and muddy the waters.

            It’s pathetic.

          • dlao

            why don’t you do a story on the candidate running for federal office who was responsible for unpaid taxes to the tune of 30,000 dollars and the cover up there and how that issue went away? how about the candidate for state senator involved in an insurance fraud case to the tune of millions? No, no way to smack the university with those stories.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            I’m working on other stories (including one of the ones you mentioned) but what you’re asking me to do is ignore this very real, very ugly story because you don’t like it.

            Sorry pal. The truth can be inconvenient.

          • dlao

            i don’t ask you to ignore it, I previously stated I think they should face the consequences. I just ask why you rail against the current players and never mention the other people involved?

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            You are asking me to ignore it. And the special treatment the players are getting is the story here.

          • dlao

            again, a simple question about other people involved and you go right back to the current players

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Because, again, the current players are the story. The other people involved aren’t part of the university. The players are and they’re getting special treatment.

            This is undeniable.

          • dakotacyr

            I missed the part of your statement where you included the university,

        • Wesley Fargo

          Those other 5 don’t REPRESENT an institution I pay Taxes for, and by extension they represent all us North Dakotans. That my friend is reason alone for their dismissal.

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        While I agree that Rob is overly harsh on the ND university system

        Am I? They get away with murder in this state, which this instance demonstrates. I think my criticism is fair.

        The truth, sometimes, is not convenient.

        • Dakotacyr

          My opinion, and and your opinion are different in this.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Your opinion sadly doesn’t match up with the facts. Look at DSU. Hundreds of instances of fraud, zero accountability.

            Look at spending. It’s grown 4x faster than enrollment, yet they still claim they’re underfunded.

            Our higher ed system is out of control.

    • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com Goon

      Have they announced the other people that were involved in this scandal? I am not so sure they have.

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        There was a total of 15 involved, I believe, including 10 current NDSU player (and one former?).

        • Reeder

          15 were charged, 13 of them are either current or former NDSU players.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Must be 10 current and 3 former.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Maybe that’s because the bigger scandal isn’t the petition fraud itself, but the university systems dismal handling of it.

  • Dakotacyr

    I agree with you 100%. This was an assault on the state and its voters. To totally ignore the seriousness of this alleged crime, does not set an example for our democracy or the responsibility of the educational system to promote citizenship. Citizens were deprived of their right to petition their government and this is an outrage.

    • sbark

      quote—-this was an assault on the state and its voters…..
      ……but in hindsight, so were the 2 Left Wing measures they were gathering sig’s for
      God works in mysterious ways?
      Oopps using the word God is sacriligous to dem’cats

      • Dakotacyr

        At least the voters would have decided whether they agreed with you or not?

        • sbark

          they must not agree with me……..they had 25000 sig’s to put it on the ballot….

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Well, to be fair, the Measure 2 supporters got that number of signatures too and were defeated soundly.

  • Harold

    Our laws here in North Dakota are mean’t only for ordinary folks, not anyone connected to higher education.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      That’s a sadly true statement. At DSU, hundreds of fraudulent diplomas, nobody gets convicted. At NDSU players involved in petition fraud that is massive in scope and no consequences from the university.

      But what if a student got caught cheating on a test at NDSU? Isn’t that sort of academic dishonesty grounds for explusion?

      • Dakotacyr

        It might be helpful if you review the student code of conduct.

  • Tim Heise

    THEY ARE NOT KIDS!!!!!!!

    • two_amber_lamps

      Same tactic tried by Treyvon supporters… The “poor kid” ploy which is supposed to somehow lessen the gravity of the offense. These “poor” kids (over the age of 18) are responsible for attempting to subvert the election/petition process. But of course leftists don’t consider election fraud a crime let alone fraudulent petitioning… so it’s little wonder they have no issue with whats been done.

      Those silly kids! Ten minute time out should set this issue to rest!

    • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com Goon

      Right they are adults.

  • Tim Heise

    So . . . what ND team am I going to now follow certainly not the UND nothings or the NDSU criminals.

    • Tim Heise

      maybe U of Mary?

      • two_amber_lamps

        Any school that would adopt a woman’s name must obviously be misogynists. SUE THEM!

  • sbark

    Was there “more forgivness” for Conrad, Dorgan and Pommy voting for ObamaCare?
    Which illegal action has more downside life affecting consequenses long term?
    yes illegal…….the way Obamacare was passed was a direct affront to our Constitutional process…

    • Dakotacyr

      Obamacare was found constitutional. Period.

      • two_amber_lamps

        Therefore thank Obama for a brand new BIG FAT TAX!

      • robert108

        Not really; the healthcare mandate was not found Constitutional, but the power to tax us was. Try to be truthful. Period.

  • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

    Serious ethics issues run deep in ND universities, and have for years. The university administration looks at the legislature and regulatory agencies in ND and say, “Hell, why not?” The football players look at the university administration and say, “Hell, why not?” Every year I learn more and more why ND is ranked among the 7 top most corrupt states. The more corrupt it gets, the more in-your-face they are about it. It’s the “North Dakota Way.”

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Why shouldn’t the university system do whatever they want? They’re accountable to nobody.

      • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

        The article that ranked ND in the top 7 most corrupt states pointed out lack of accountability as a major factor across the board. Who’s going to call whom out on this? Closets full of skeletons.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          That article was a joke. You shouldn’t be taking it seriously.

          • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

            I rely mostly on experience—and from reliable reports from around the state.

          • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

            … and from reliable reports from around the state.

  • Nick Bata

    Hey way to ruin the November ballot you jackasses.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      The conservation measure was a bad idea. A terrible idea. It doesn’t break my heart that it’s not on the ballot, but I would rather have seen it get its day before the voters and be voted down.

      I was still undecided on the medicinal marijuana measure.

  • RCND

    And we wonder why things like the Penn State scandal can fester for years unnoticed. Yes, this issue is nowhere near that one in degree of severity, but the corrosion of values and discipline that leads to Penn State situations often start with lacking the integrity to enforce standards for the “little things”.

  • Reeder

    Could NDSU handle this any worse? How do you go from letting this play out in court to a few days later saying there will no suspensions? The fact that these kids have admitted to what will result in thousands of forged signatures is a serious matter, but I think the more disturbing result is how the coach, AD, and president have handled this. How does gene Taylor try and make the players the victims?

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      To answer our question, no they couldn’t have handled it any worse.

      • borborygmi

        Rob,What is you true complaint? Different standards for different people?or they aren’t being punished enough? What is the pound of flesh you are wanting and find lacking? Take away that they are athletes. If this happened to be everyday joe on the street. They get their day in court, They are found guilty or not guilty. If they are found guilty they are given a punishment, the severity is left up to the disgression of the judge. Ask yourself “would avg joe lose his job, have his name put on the front of the paper, have their name bandied about on blogs and radio shows? Would they, should they be treated differently from you and me. IS the beef you have with the Higher Ed , is it with students?

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          The beef I have with higher education in North Dakota is that it’s not accountable to the taxpayers, and it is run by unethical people.

          I want equal treatment between students. These players are facing zero consequences for perpetrating massive fraud.

          I get a little tired of people suggesting I’m anti-higher ed. I’m never anti-education. But I am against the way we’re doing higher ed here in North Dakota, in this instance applying different standards based on how good the student is at sports.

          • borborygmi

            “I want equal treatment between students. These players are facing zero consequences for perpetrating massive fraud”.
            Are students different then the general populace? If so, how? If not then how do you know that there are zero consequences since they haven’t had their day in court? Do you want them to have additional consequences because they are athletes? Would an employer fire an employee over this especially a good employee?
            Perhaps the fraud is an uneven approach to what has happened towards other students. If you believe each incident is unique how do you know if other students (non athletes) would be treated differently. Do the news media, the blogs, the radio talk shows treat student athletes differently then regular students?

  • ndobserver

    The “coverup” by NDSU administrators is now worse than the ballot fraud, which is a Class A misdemeanor. The
    Fifteen current or former players admitted they were guilty of forging 24,000 signatures (day after day of purposely do so) to get paid for false work. They are scheduled to appear in District Court Oct. 2. No one can defend what the students or NDSU administrators are doing except the most diehard football fan who want to win at any cost, sorta like the Penn state scandal. I do not think Bresciani and the athletic director will survive this scandal because no Fargo legislator or even the Forum can excuse this one way like all the other controversies and scandals of NDSU. This makes the case that we should not pay people to gather signatures on for ballot measures, and it makes the case that college administrators will punish innocent students to look good, and not punish guilty fraudulent football players no matter what they do.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      This is what you get from a university system that is accountable to nobody. Aside from funding, they are almost entirely separate from the state government. The time has come for that to end.

  • Jackson Hole
  • Wesley Fargo

    If there was any justice in this world, the judge should set a plea date next week, if they plea guilty, he could just give them community service the next 8 weekends so they won’t miss any classes.

    If they Plea Not Guilty, the prosecutors should remind them of the possible 1 year in jail and that they will be going all out to protect the folks’ right to petition. They have already admitted guilt as stated in Sat. Fargo Foolum so that would be used against them.

    But Judges and Prosecutors are elected, so don’t expect much in this town…

  • Chas Tuttle

    Rob there should be a NCAA investigation. To take pay with out work and theft violate NCAA rules and should cause the players and the school to be looked at. I know i was an letter-man at The Ohio State Univ. Has anyone called the NCAA to see if they are investigating.

    • bisonbob

      Rob: I’d rather you call them student/athletes; technically that’s their role on campus. Too many put the focus on the playing aspect and distorts the message. I know you’ve been critical of the Jemison dismissal from the team for charges far less than the petition fraud but the fact remains both are class A misdemeanors carrying similar penalties. You state “this level of fraud” to make it sound worse than charges actually are. I mean this to say that anyone who writes a check for insufficient funds in the amount of $250.00 can be charged with a class A misdemeanor as well. Over $500 is a class C felony, a higher penalty than the petition fraud. How many of your posters have been guilty of writing a bad check? What is your opinion of those who do this on occasions? Maybe your beef is with the politicians that haven’t placed a high level of penalty on such a “level of fraud”. To me, if they haven’t violated NDSU’s team rules/conduct (I’ve never read the team policy on this), why would they be penalized twice? I’m a bit jaded as I am a bison fan, and yes there is a pit in my stomach on this event.

  • Chas Tuttle

    The comment about paid petitioners is stupid. These are not paid petitioners. If they were professionals they would have done it the correct way. It took more work and effort to steal then to have citizens write there name and address on a petition. Do not excuse there actions by taking our rights away by payed petitioners. We get measures like 2 on the ballot and government supported groups like the Chamber ,Association of counties ,League of Cities spend $10’000-1 to lie and defeat such measures. North Dakota needs to wake up all of our property taxes are going up even though there is 300 million in a property tax relief sustainability account.

  • Lynn Bergman

    The Elite Education Oligarchy is alive and well. Get used to this folks…unless you are willing to take action in the coming legislative session.
    This is the kind of elitism that helped enable Hitler to take over Germany; the public came to despise the oligarchy. How much longer will we put up with the elitism until we place it in check with legislation to abolish the board of higher ed and replace it with an elected official who can fire a chancellor or university president at the drop of a hat?

  • jimmypop

    its over? what happens if they go to jail?

    this is disgusting….football over moral behavior?

  • ssg2001

    Not that I am a fan of the NCAA but why aren’t they getting involved with this, this has to violate the code of conduct student athletes are supposed to sign?

  • borborygmi

    Rob,What is you true complaint? Different standards for different people?or they aren’t being punished enough? What is the pound of flesh you are wanting and find lacking? Take away that they are athletes. If this happened to be everyday joe on the street. They get their day in court, They are found guilty or not guilty. If they are found guilty they are given a punishment, the severity is left up to the disgression of the judge. Ask yourself “would avg joe lose his job, have his name put on the front of the paper, have their name bandied about on blogs and radio shows? Would they, should they be treated differently from you and me. IS the beef you have with the Higher Ed , is it with students?

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