Fowler's biography undergoes editing

Vikings bidder's claims don't square with facts

Pro Football

February 17, 2005|By Jay Weiner | Jay Weiner,MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE

MINNEAPOLIS - In a biographical fact sheet, Reggie Fowler - who earlier this week announced he had signed an agreement to buy the Minnesota Vikings - declared that he'd played in the Little League World Series, implied he'd earned a business administration degree from the University of Wyoming and said he played for the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals and the Canadian Football League's Calgary Stampeders.

Apparently, none of those claims is accurate.

Fowler, 46, announced Monday with Vikings owner Red McCombs that he had signed an agreement to buy the team. That purchase must have the approval of the other NFL owners.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Fowler's Twin Cities public relations representative, Tunheim Partners, began issuing clarifications to his biography, which Fowler's company, Spiral Inc., had supplied to the firm, said Leslie Kupchella, the Tunheim executive for the Fowler account.

Since emerging as a suitor for the Vikings, Fowler, 46, described as a "private person," has refused to be interviewed by news organizations.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune, in the course of developing a profile of the man who is prepared to pay $625 million for the state's most popular sports franchise and who may seek public funding for a stadium, began to examine his biography.

It states: "At 11 years old, Mr. Fowler's performance as an all-star baseball player earned him and his team a spot in the Little League World Series."

But Fowler's name does not appear on any roster of teams that have played in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

"I'm quite certain he didn't participate in the Little League World Series," Chris Downs, media relations manager for Little League, said yesterday.

In the next paragraph of the biography, Fowler stated: "The early years in [his father's] restaurant business, where he developed a passion for numbers, led him to pursue a degree in business administration with an emphasis on finance" at the University of Wyoming.

According to Peggy Joyce, who is in charge of record verification and transcripts for the University of Wyoming registrar, Fowler received a degree on Dec. 19, 1981, in social work, not in any business-related field.

And, says the biography, "For three years, Mr. Fowler realized [his dream to play pro football] by playing for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League, the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League and the Arizona Wranglers of the United States Football League."

But, according to complete databases of both the NFL and CFL, Fowler never played a game in any of those leagues.

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