COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Two weeks after more than 200 victims of sexual assault by former Ohio State University doctor Richard Strauss asked the NCAA and the Big Ten to investigate OSU’s handling of the case, some former athletes are sharing new information about their former coaches, including U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan.
For the first time, a former champion wrestler is detailing what he claims was an angry confrontation with two coaches, just minutes after the wrestler said he was molested by Strauss. And it is clear that the athletes and Jordan have very different versions of what happened all those years ago.
“I was warned about Dr. Strauss — people called him Jelly Fingers,” said former wrestler Mike Glane. “People said he was weird. People said he was going to fondle your genitals.”
Said former wrestler Dunyasha Yetts: “I kinda was in line and hearing some of the stories and people talking about ‘hey, you know you’re gonna get violated and he’s gonna touch you for a long period of time.”
Yetts was a rock-star wrestler, an eventual Big Ten champion who was heavily recruited by Ohio State when he decided to leave Purdue his junior year. His first day at OSU, he got in line for a physical with Strauss that he said resulted in 10 minutes of invasive groping.
“I’m very angry. I storm out the door there. When I’m storming out the door, I encounter coach Hellickson and coach Jordan and a few of the wrestlers standing there,” Yetts said. “So I was just yelling and screaming at the coaches about what just happened and … this is how things are going at Ohio State.”
Then Yetts said he listened outside the door when Russ Hellickson, the head coach, and Jordan, then an assistant coach, confronted Strauss.
“And I hear, (You know) Doc, you’re too hands-on,” Yetts said. “The guys are always complaining about your physicals. They’re complaining about always coming in here whether it was certain injuries. You’re groping these guys or you’re touching them inappropriately.”
Glane said he was there, too, when Yetts confronted the coaches.
“I witnessed Dunyasha Yetts come in angry with a flared-up event,” Glane said. “I witnessed that in super clear memory.”
But Jordan, a Republican who represents Ohio’s Fourth District, said last year he has no memory of anyone ever complaining about Strauss or alleged incidents such as Strauss staying in the shower for hours, every day, with the young athletes.
“Every single coach has said the same thing that I’ve said,” Jordan said last year. “All kinds of athletes have said the same things that I’ve said. The reason that they’ve said that is because it’s the truth. The idea that I wouldn’t stand up for our athletes if I thought there was some kind of harm happening to them is ridiculous.”
Through a spokesman, Jordan denied again this week knowing about Strauss’ actions.
“Congressman Jordan never saw any abuse, never heard about any abuse, never had any abuse reported to him during his time as a coach at Ohio State, and if he had, he would’ve dealt with it,” the statement read.
But Jordan, then a coach and now a congressman, is inescapably linked to the Strauss scandal.
“This isn’t about Jim Jordan,” former wrestler Mike Schyck said. “This is about the fact that Ohio State knew about Dr. Strauss, knew that he was abusing athletes for 20 years and did nothing about it.”
Schyck, like many of the former wrestlers, liked and admired his coaches.
I went to Ohio State because of Russ Hellickson and Jim Jordan,” Schyck said. “Jimmy was my assistant coach for five years. Loved the man, and he is going to have to answer to what he knew and why he knew. That’s on him.”
By claiming no one came to him, Jordan has called into question your credibility of those bringing allegations against Strauss.
“My credibility is pretty intact,” Schuck said. “And I’ve got 350 other people who would back that because we all know the truth and what happened.”
Or, as Glane put it, “It is not possible they didn’t know, but it is possible they did not see it as abuse.”
Glane said he was 18 with a scholarship on the line, and he knew he was expected to silently suffer through a Strauss exam because, he said, Hellickson and Jordan wanted all of them to “man-up.”
“They are tough, durable solid, strong human beings who competed at Olympic levels,” Glane said, “so their standards for performance and durability and toughness that they really wanted to share with us and teach us took away their ability to add compassion and deep understanding about suffering and victim potential.”