Nebraska 125-pounder Paul Donahoe — 2007 National Champion in his weight class — was booted from the Cornhusker wrestling squad last summer after nude photos of the grappler and teammate Kenny Jordan appeared on
a gay-per-view website fratmen.tv. Months later, Donahoe — now enrolled at New Hampshire’s Division III Edinboro University — will participate in Saturday’s NCAA Championships in St. Louis and tells the Boston Globe’s Stan Grossfield, “I didn’t hurt anyone. I don’t think I did anything wrong. Who should I apologize to?”
“I am straight, but on the forums people make a lot of gay jokes about me,” Donohue says. “I’m not too concerned. They can talk about me all they want, it doesn’t matter. If a guy wants to be with a guy, who cares?”
“I want people to watch the sport,” he says. “It’s not like other sports. It’s not something that you go out and do for fun, because if you go out there and someone’s tougher than you, you’re going to take some whipping. But once you become a wrestling fan, I’m pretty sure you’ll always be a wrestling fan.”
“Obviously, I did it for the money,” he says of the photo shoot. “We kept thinking no one would ever find out because it was a gay website and we really wanted that money.”
His expenses were covered for a trip to Los Angeles and he was paid several thousand dollars. He was given the name “Nash” and identified as being from New England. He and Jordan were shown DVDs of naked women.
Once the video was posted, Donahoe was initially identified by the letter “N” and the word “wrestling” tattooed on his left thigh.
“They were supposed to cover it up but obviously they left it,” he says. “Gay kids in Lincoln [Neb.] wrote, ‘Hey, nice website. I saw you.’ I wrote back, ‘Don’t tell anyone,’ but with word of mouth, people found out.”
Donahoe was tossed off the team but not out of the university. Nebraska self-reported the violation to the NCAA.
“They said I promoted my image,” says Donahoe. “That’s illegal in the NCAA rules. I had to pay all the money back, a couple of thousand, to a nonprofit.
“I believe it was unfair for Nebraska to dismiss me from the team. For one, there’s plenty of athletes throughout the University of Nebraska who have had DUIs and who have been in fights and are still playing. But I guess that’s OK. Posing nude, I guess, is worse than someone drinking and driving and risking someone’s life, in their eyes.”