Ill. college football coach caught on tape trashing newspaper

ILLINOIS — Editor in Chief Cherie Getchell wasinitially thrilled to see copies of the December edition of ElmhurstCollege’s student newspaper vanishing from the rack.But when shefound more than 50 copies of The Leader in the trash a few weeks ago, shebecame suspicious about where all those papers were going. Now she is blaming anassistant football coach for sabotaging the press run and says she has a tape ofhim in action to prove it.The controversy stems from an article in theDec. 4 edition of The Leader, in which former Elmhurst Sports InformationDirector Hope Wagner criticized the relationship between the administration andthe head football coach. In the article, Wagner claims that head coach PaulKrohn would have been fired last year had word of it not infuriated fans andcommunity members.Shortly after it was published, Getchell said papersbegan disappearing rapidly. Because the paper, which comes out roughly twice amonth, has a circulation of only 1,500, she said it was easy to notice that morepapers were gone than usual. On Jan. 8, the assistant dean of studentsasked Getchell to put extra papers in front of the student union forElmhurst’s recruiting day. When the stack was missing after only a fewminutes, Getchell said she knew something was wrong.“I got tothinking about where they could be, looked in the trash can and they were allsitting in there. So I took pictures and got them all out, because wecan’t afford to lose that many newspapers,” Getchellsaid.Getchell asked Tony Leggett, director of campus security atElmhurst College, for a tape from a surveillance camera that scanned the area atthe time the papers disappeared.“I got the tape and I watched it,and sure as can be there was the assistant football coach dumping the newspapersin the trash,” Getchell said, referring to assistant coach MarkKrzykowski. “I told my adviser I had seen the tape and I was really,really upset because first of all, that’s just completely unprofessional,and it gives the students and the community a really bad idea and the wrongidea, as to how you deal with the press. You don’t dothis.”Head coach Krohn and assistant coach Krzykowski declined tocomment on the situation. Leggett said although tapes are rarelyrequested, it is standard procedure for officers to hand them over.“It wasn’t brought to our attention as a crime or anythingof that nature,” he said. “We were trying to do the right thing,help them to make an identification, then we would start the investigationprocess.”Leggett said he has not heard from Getchell since he gaveher the tape.Elmhurst College President Bryant Cureton said the incidentis under active investigation by the dean of students office. Though he has notviewed the tape, Cureton said he has no reason to believe the allegations arefalse.“Apparently papers were removed,” Cureton said.“Not from the normal distribution kiosk, but someone had set up a specialdisplay of materials and I understand that one of the assistant footballcoaches who was preparing for another meeting to be held in that space took iton his own initiative to decide that [the newspaper] wasn’t the thing hewanted out for that meeting.”Charles Henderson, Elmhurst Collegedirector of public relations, said tensions between the newspaper and footballteam could have been quelled if both sides had talked rationally before gettingangry.“One party is upset about the accuracy of an article, andanother party is upset that newspapers are being thrown away, but neither partyhas sat down and said to each other, ‘Here’s what I’m upsetabout,’” Henderson said. “What we’ve got here is somered faces and pointing fingers.”Getchell said that although shewants Krzykowski to resign or be fired, she will let the administration handleit and is not planning to pursue legal action. “I’m reallyworried this is going to be handled internally and that nothing’s going tohappen, but [football staff members] will direct their anger at me,” shesaid. “We’ll see what happens. I’m trying to have faith in theadministration, but it’s tough.”Cureton said that regardlessof campus and community response to the controversial article, no one has aright to muzzle the student newspaper.“The issue of maintainingaccess to the student newspaper, maintaining the ability of the studentnewspaper to be published and to be read, there’s absolutely no questionof where the institution is on that issue,” Cureton said.Getchellwill address the incident in an editorial in the Feb. 4 edition of TheLeader.