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MW probation limited to football

WORTHINGTON — According to Minnesota West Community and Technical College president Richard Shrubb, sanctions have been lifted off most of its athletic programs.

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Only the football team remains on probation after receiving a recent letter from the Minnesota College Athletic Conference (MCAC).

“It’s probation for football only,” Shrubb said Tuesday afternoon. “They lifted probation off the other programs, which was great. It’s probation for football only for two years; cleanliness of the facility after we leave and the supervision at even away games, which is typically not what colleges do. Usually the home team supervises the facility.”

The entire MW athletic program was placed on probation following an incident after the Oct. 26 quarterfinal football game in Brainerd.

However, Shrubb appealed, and the MCAC ultimately decided to take the other programs off probation.

“I think the important distinction will be that we weren’t put on probation and taken off probation,” Shrubb said. “The MCAC reconsidered its decision, so technically we were never on probation. What they did was reconsider putting all our teams on probation.”

Shrubb said head football coach Jeff Linder will continue in his role and was not reprimanded.

“That was never a topic of discussion,” Shrubb said. “The coach has not been disciplined in any way, nor should he have been.”

After the incident, Shrubb had convened an ad hoc committee — led by former MW president Ron Wood — to evaluate the athletic program. Those findings will be presented to the MCAC sometime in February.

“The review was positive toward football and athletics,” Wood said. “We made some suggestions and recommendations to the president about the MCAC and athletic program and football.”

The committee was comprised of Wood, Diane Graber, Jay Scheidt and Bruce Viessman along with college employees Marie Johnson, Dawn Gordon and Kile Behrends.

“We completed our task in a herculean timeframe, you might say,” Wood said. “I think we made some sound recommendations and good findings.”

After the review, the program will be healthier, Shrubb said.

“I’m very pleased with the community support that we got,” he said. “The coaching staff is making some revisions to the program that will make it safer, which was our primary concern. We don’t want any more incidents like the Brainerd incident happening. We’re reviewing how the athletic programs fit into the mission of Minnesota West and who we are here to serve by taxpayer dollars.”

During the review period, the football team was not allowed to accept any invitations to play in a postseason game.

“We suspended recruiting for a while,” Shrubb said. “I’ve given coach Linder the green light to go ahead and talk to players who likely to come back anyway and express to them a commitment that the program is up and running. Players we’ve had can come back and return, and new players will be under the guidelines that will come forth by the committee for a little better representation with the school and the MnSCU Charting the Future documents.”

The Charting the Future documents outline the strategic framework for the colleges and universities. The commitments include: ensure access to an extraordinary education for all Minnesotans; be the partner of choice to meet Minnesota’s workforce and community needs; and deliver to students, employers, communities and taxpayers the highest value/most affordable higher education option.

“It will be more alignment with local mission statements for Minnesota West and a greater representation of people who have a greater ongoing commitment to academic programs at the college,” Shrubb said.

Through it all, Shrubb said it was a good process.

“Review is always good when we work together,” he said. “We always come out better when we work together. The college and the constituents have expressed emotional support for our programs and our schools. I’m very pleased with how it’s brought more people together, and I’m glad for that.”