Former players, staff claim P.J. Fleck is creating ‘toxic culture’ in Minnesota
Only a few months ago, the whole world of college football viewed the Big Ten as the most “proper” and “well-kept” conference in the nation. They were viewed as a respectful conference by many. But now, the tides are turning. In a shocking turn of events, Minnesota Golden Gophers football head coach P.J. Fleck is facing allegations of having a toxic culture.
For the past six seasons, Fleck has proven to the college football world that he can change an atmosphere and build a winning program. Fleck, the high-intensity 42-year-old, has been seen running across the sidelines, pumping up his players and showing out for his school. He has also implemented the “Row the Boat” mentality at the University of Minnesota, which has found much success with the public. But, this mentality and the grand scheme of things may not be all peachy.
According to Front Office Sports, Fleck’s players find his scheme not only intimidating but toxic as well. Former players have even used the term “Fleck Bank.” Now I know what you’re thinking, what is “Fleck Bank?” The term “Fleck Bank” is a system that allows players to use “coins” to get away with positive drug test results and other violations across the Golden Gophers organization. Sickening right?
Players could earn those “coins” by visiting patients at the University of Minnesota Medical Center with the head coach. Another way they could earn them is by having good study habits.
University of Minnesota Athletic Director Mark Coyle would go on to defend Fleck’s allegations.
“P.J. and our program are unique,” Coyle said. “They put themselves out there in new and different ways — but always in a first-class manner — and after nearly seven years, it is clear to me, that is what makes P.J. and our program so successful.
“I always encourage all of our student-athletes, including every member of our football team, to reach out to me directly if they encounter any issues. To date, I have not heard from a single football student-athlete about the allegations raised.”
Former players also explained to FOS that the phrase “Row the Boat” means a lot more.
“You almost wondered who was a rat and who wasn’t a rat,” the first player told FOS. “You always felt like you had to keep [your] guard up. They told us we could seek help with a mental health counselor, and get some therapy sessions. But our schedules were so busy that it was like, when would you do that?”
“Some of Fleck’s recruits tested positive, but he looked past it because they had coins in the Fleck Bank from doing community service or staying around to pray with him,” said the second player. “He wanted you to be family, and he wanted you to do whatever he wanted you to do.”
Should Fleck be fired for this? Why are these allegations coming out now? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.
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