Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio has been accused of ignoring the alleged sexual assault of wrestlers while he was a coach at Ohio State University. Former wrestlers have recently come forward accusing the team doctor, Richard Strauss, of molesting athletes during appointments. Jordan said he was not aware of the alleged abuse at the time.
But at least three accusers tell NBC News that Jordan is lying. Former wrestler Dunyasha Yetts says he and other athletes specifically told Jordan about uncomfortable situations with Strauss, but that Jordan did nothing about it.
Jordan coached at Ohio State from 1986-1994. Wrestling is a huge part of his background and his family has continued that tradition.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Jim Jordan Won Wrestling Championships in Both High School and College
Jordan grew up in Champaign County, Ohio. He won four state wrestling championships while a student at Graham High School, losing just one match in his entire high school career. It was during this time that he met his future wife, Polly. In a 2014 interview, Jordan said he actually met Polly’s brothers first, through wrestling. “I decided it would be a lot more fun wrestling with Polly than her brothers.”
Jordan went on to wrestle at the University of Wisconsin. He set a record for largest number of wins at Wisconsin, with 156. He won two NCAA Division 1 championships for his weight class in the 1985 and 1986 seasons. He was also named as an All-American three times. After completing his undergraduate education, Jordan returned to Ohio. He served as an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State while also working toward a master’s degree in education.
In 2014, Jordan was recognized for his wrestling accomplishments by being inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. The Open Mat quoted him attributing his success later in life to the lessons he learned as an athlete.
“Through the sport of wrestling, I learned lessons about hard work and discipline that I have carried with me throughout my life. I’ve been blessed to have the support of a loving family and great coaches throughout my life, but I am particularly thankful for my experience in Badger wrestling and what it has meant to me and so many others who have been a part of one of the best programs in history.”
2. Jordan’s Son Isaac Created His Own Wrestling Legacy at Wisconsin
Isaac Jordan also chose to become a Wisconsin Badger, just like his dad. While there, he racked up a 115-17 record over all four seasons. While he did not clinch an NCAA championship, he did earn a fourth place finish during his senior season. Isaac also became only the fifth athlete at Wisconsin to ever be named as an All-American four times.
In an interview with the Badger Herald in 2014, Isaac spoke about the support he received from his father throughout his career, insisting that Jim Jordan did not put too much pressure on him. “He’s kind of hands off. He lets the coaches do the coaching. But he sits in the stands and cheers and supports me.”
Since graduation, Isaac has also followed his father’s path into the world of coaching. He served as an assistant coach at Oklahoma State this past season. And next season, Isaac is joining the staff at Indiana University. Head wrestling coach Angel Escobedo had this to say about Isaac’s hiring: “When I was looking for an assistant coach, I wanted a high level wrestler with outstanding integrity and character. Isaac brings all those attributes to the program and will be a great mentor for our athletes to look up to.”
3. Jordan’s Nephew Bo Was a Star Wrestler at Ohio State
Like his cousin, Bo Jordan also came up short in his quest for an individual national championship during college. But his record at Ohio State was outstanding regardless. The Lantern reports that Bo was named as an All-American four times, and twice finished in the top three at the NCAA championship. He also earned a Big Ten Championship.
After coming in third place in his senior season, Bo spoke about missing out on that coveted first-place title: “I just feel pretty crushed. My dream has always been to be a national champ, and that can’t happen now. I just talked to coach and I have to come back for the team. The team needs me. I have to get my head straight for tonight. Kind of after the first match too. My head wasn’t really straight, that’s kind of where I’m at right now.”
Bo’s father Jeff, Jim Jordan’s brother, was also a wrestling standout. In a 2015 interview, Bo said he knew from a very young age that he too wanted to get on the mat. “Growing up, even when I was real little, I’d always see my dad. He was always involved with wrestling. I was really blessed and fortunate to have the dad that I did. He was always pushing me to get better and help me work on things.”
In May of this year, it was announced that Bo would be continuing with Ohio State wrestling as a coach.
4. Jeff Jordan Coaches a State Champ Wrestling Camp
Jim Jordan’s younger brother Jeff is also a former high school and college champion. Like his brother, Jeff won four high school state championships. During his own career at the University of Wisconsin, Jeff won a Big Ten title and was twice named an All-American. After graduation he got a job as an assistant coach at Purdue University.
For the past several years, Jeff has been running a “State Champ Camp” in Urbana. On its website, the camp is described as a “highly individualized no-frills camp for the serious middle school or high school wrestler who wants to put in the hard work to become a state and national champion. Guided by the philosophy that hard work equals success, nationally recognized wrestling coach, Jeff Jordan has developed a system of wrestling that has produced numerous high school and NCAA Champions.”
5. Jim’s Older Son Ben Jordan Also Contributed to Wrestling Legacy at Wisconsin
Ben was a two-time state champion in high school. He began his career at the University of Wisconsin in 2008. He earned an All-American spot during his senior year, but did not rack up the same kind of record as his younger brother went on to do. Ben continued working with Badger wrestling after his senior season as a student assistant coach.