University of Minnesota football coaches believed they had scored a coup by signing Robert McField to a scholarship tender in February 2006. . . .
Now, McField is likely headed to prison. He pleaded guilty to two reduced counts of second-degree robbery and one count of armed criminal action -- all felonies -- on March 26 and is awaiting sentencing in June.
Prosecutors are expected to seek a 12-year prison sentence.
McField, 19, who was recruited by former coach Glen Mason's staff, practiced with the Gophers football team for two months last fall, although he did not play in games. University officials said they suspended him from the team Oct. 6, when they learned of his legal problems in a call from the St. Louis County prosecutor. McField still was listed on the team's bowl game roster in December. . . .
"This is one of those things where honestly I think we in athletics did everything we could," Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi said. "We found out and suspended him immediately. We did a criminal background check immediately and found nothing. When he pleaded guilty, we did what we felt was the appropriate thing and immediately dismissed him from the football program and the athletics department." . . .
Mitch Browning, a former Gophers assistant coach who recruited McField, said no one associated with McField told him about his legal issues.
Reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, Browning initially declined to comment. When pressed about McField, Browning said he had no knowledge of his criminal background.
"His [high school] coaches gave no information, his counselors gave no information," Browning said. "I don't know how you prevent it. It's really an unfortunate situation." . . .
An unfortunate situation? Or business as usual in the University of Minnesota athletics department?
Denise McField, Robert's mother, said she and her son did not divulge the arrest to anyone during the recruiting process.
"The university knew nothing [before October]," she said. "I was just hoping it would be resolved. ... I was hoping the legal system would see what kind of guy Robert is, hoping they'd see that this is a good kid who got influenced by friends. But unfortunately, they didn't see it that way." . . .
Yep, that’s right. The ‘my friends made me do it’ defense did not wash. How shocking.
University records show that McField was a roommate of Keith Massey and E.J. Jones. Those two players were arrested last week along with another player, Alex Daniels, in connection with a rape investigation. . . .
Now the plot really thickens. I suppose that if the rape charges have merit, then Massey and Jones will utilize the ‘my roommate made me do it‘ defense? One cannot help but feel sorry for UM head football coach Tim Brewster. It appears that he has a cesspool to drain, and one can only hope that UM athletic director Joel Maturi gave him advance warning of what he was getting himself into.