PJ Fleck calls toxic culture allegations 'baseless' and clarifies Minnesota's discipline policy
PJ Fleck spoke at Big Ten Media Days and addressed a report from earlier in the week that there was a toxic culture under Fleck.
Former players and staff at Minnesota alleged in recent interviews that there’s a toxic culture under Fleck. They described an environment fraught with intimidation and toxicity and referenced the “Fleck Bank” — a system that allowed players with enough “coins” to get away with positive drug tests, and other violations of team rules, Front Office Sports reported.
Fleck said the “Fleck Bank” was mostly used in 2017 and 2018 and was an analogy in a team meeting referring to the more you invest in the program, the better experience you’re going to get out of it.
“There was no currency ever exchanged,” Fleck said. “There was no coins that ever existed. It was an analogy simply to explain an investment for life. A life lesson of investment, simply that. No one ever got out of any type of punishment for that.”
Fleck said the athletics department at Minnesota has taken over disciplinary-type actions, and said the Golden Gophers don’t use physical activity to discipline players.
“We have never done that, our players do things like they wake up early and clean the weight room,” he said. “And whatever you did, you watch a video on that. If you were late to class, you watch a video on tardiness. You then write your professor a letter. Those are the disciplines we actually have within our program that our athletics department changed their policies to make sure that no physical activity of any sport could be used based on what we created as a football team. These allegations are baseless.”
Fleck said this is a similar story that gets peddled every year and the majority of players have been dismissed or removed from the team. There are also about 6 anonymous reporting avenues that players can use if they have an issue.