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Email: Craig Robinson Kept OSU Coaching Job Thanks to Stimulus Bribe

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Email rumor claims Oregon State University was bribed with federal stimulus money to halt the firing of basketball coach Craig Robinson, who happens to be First Lady Michelle Obama's brother.

Description: Forwarded email
Circulating since: March 2010
Status: FALSE (see details below)

Email text contributed by Jessica G., March 8, 2010:

FW: stimulus jobs...

Some have said that the stimulus hasn't saved any jobs, but here is a case where at least one job was saved.

According to an unnamed source, Oregon State University Athletic Director Bob DeCarolis was considering firing their basketball coach, Craig Robinson, after an 8-11 start (2-5 in the Pac 10 conference).

When word of this reached Washington , Undersecretary of Education Martha Kanter was dispatched to Corvallis with $17 million in stimulus money for the university. The source now says that Craig Robinson's job is safe for this year.

For the record, Coach Robinson just happens to be Michelle Obama's Brother.

Analysis: Apart from the claim that Oregon State University head basketball coach Craig Robinson is First Lady Michelle Obama's brother — which is true — virtually everything in the above message is false.

For example, far from having his job on the chopping block, Craig Robinson's six-year coaching contract with OSU was recently extended through 2016 (an additional two years), and this, according to Assistant OSU Athletic Director Steve Fenk, had nothing to do with federal stimulus grants. "For the record," he told me via email, "Craig Robinson has coached Oregon State to its best back-to-back seasons since the early 1990s."

Moreover, while Oregon State has received a total of over $26,000,000 in federal stimulus grants to date — at least half of it in 2009 — there is no record of Department of Education Under Secretary Martha Kanter (or any other government official) being "dispatched to Corvallis with $17,000,000 in stimulus money."

Another Oregon school, University of Oregon, has received even more federal stimulus funds to date: at least $40,000,000, according to the Eugene Register-Guard. No members of the Obama family work there.

When I asked OSU Director of Athletics Bob De Carolis to comment on this rumor, which is as much a smear against him as it is against Coach Robinson and President Obama, his reply was succinct: "There is absolutely no truth to any of this, period."

Sources and further reading:

Craig Robinson to Stay at Oregon State
ESPN, 2 March 2010

Robinson Agrees to 2-Year Contract Extension
Corvallis Gazette-Times, 2 March 2010

Craig Robinson Bio
Oregon State University

Stimulus Funding Finds Its Way to Oregon
Eugene Register-Guard, 26 March 2009

Federal Stimulus Grants to OSU
Oregon State University

Last updated 02/22/12

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