Monday, November 07, 2005


I hope you’re sitting down when you read this. KMSP TV is reporting that there may be underage drinking going on over at the University of Minnesota. By scholarship athletes on the hockey team, no less.

You probably find that as hard to believe as I do. When I was a student at that very University, I never heard of any underage drinking going on (except of course, for the mechanical engineering majors—now there would be an expose).

This story does give an indication of the quality of our local TV reporting. Here are some excerpts (in italics):

“Saturday night, September 24, we’re back at the bar and so are the players, including the nation’s top high school recruit freshman Phil Kessel. In this video, we don’t know what he’s drinking.”

Oh, you don’t know whether or not he’s drinking alcohol? Why do you even mention him then? Could it be because he’s the team’s best known player?”

“And 19 year old Kris Chucko, he’s there too. On this night, we didn’t see him drinking.”

He’s in a bar, but not drinking? He may have his Canadian citizenship revoked.

“We also see Frazee’s 19 year old teammate Justin Bostrom sitting in a booth with drinks on the table, including an empty beer. We have no clue if he drank that beer.”

At least you admit that you have no clue.

“Included in the group, 20 year old Evan Kaufmann, a day shy of his twenty-first birthday according to the Gophers own media guide.”

Quick, someone appoint a Special Prosecutor! And I hope they lock that media guide away in a safe place. The University will no doubt try to gather them all up and burn them to destroy the evidence.

“Back to our undercover video Halloween weekend. We spot 18 year old Jeff Frazee, but it is the only time that we see him in the bar that we didn’t see him with a drink.”

Frazee is one player they really seem to have the goods on. They have him on camera admitting that he’s drinking “Long Islands”. This might explain the soft goals he let in against Duluth last Saturday.

This was such a big story that they couldn’t fit it all in at the start of the newscast, so they had to save the University’s reaction for later in the show:

TRISH VAN PILSUM: “They say that in the last several months they got two anonymous tips concerning improper student athlete conduct at a Dinkytown bar and that they can’t say anything more about that because it is still under investigation. Now of course that raises two very troubling questions. How hard did University officials try to investigate those claims and why, if the U has known about this for several months, were underage hockey players still drinking at Blarney as recently as last weekend?”

ROBYNE ROBINSON: “And it only took us a couple of weeks to figure it out.”

Come on Robyne, give the University officials a break. For one thing, they probably do not have journalism degrees. For another, they probably have a higher evidentiary standard than “We have no clue whether he drank that beer.”

ROBYNE ROBINSON: “All right, I know we’re going to hear more throughout the week. It’s a big one.”

That sigh of relief you hear is from Scooter Libby. Finally, a big one to distract the media!

ROBYNE ROBINSON: “Let me ask you, what’s coming up tomorrow night?”

TRISH VAN PILSUM: “Tomorrow night, we’re going to ummm talk to the owner of the bar, and we’re going to try to figure out how it is that ummm these athletes were able to get into the bar. And some people say that the owner actually allowed them to be there because it helped to draw business to the bar.”

Sadly, I will miss tomorrow night’s big story. I will be investigating an anonymous tip that the Gopher hockey team’s bus went 56 in a 55 mph zone several times on the way back from Duluth last weekend. Stay tuned to NIGP for more news on that big story as it develops.


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