Despite the literally hundreds of sexual abuse and assault claims made by student athletes against Ohio State sports doctor Richard Strauss throughout his career, many people outside of the state had not heard of the disgraced doctor, nor how the university failed to intervene on their students’ behalf, until Sports Illustrated published writer Jon Wertheim’s November 2020 piece, “Why Aren’t More People Talking About the Ohio State Sex Abuse Scandal?” According to the Hollywood Reporter, George Clooney and his Smokehouse Productions partner Grant Heslov will be spreading the word even further by producing a docuseries based on the article by Wertheim, who will also executive produce. Clooney and Heslov said in a statement to THR, “We’re very pleased to partner with 101 Studios and Sports Illustrated in bringing this devastating and tragic story to light.”
One of the alleged victims of Strauss interviewed in the SI piece is Olympian and UFC champ Mark Coleman, an All-American wrestler who found himself “haunted” by Strauss’s abuse. The piece also implicates Ohio congressman Jim Jordan, who worked as an OSU assistant wrestling coach from 1986 to 1994, for allegedly knowing about and doing nothing to stop the abuse. Jordan has denied the claim.
Having been hired in 1978, Strauss’s predatory behavior was reportedly known by the university as early as 1979. In 1996, after dozens of complaints, the disgraced doctor was eventually suspended and later let go, though he remained a tenured faculty member in the university’s School of Public Health until he retired in 1998; Strauss died in 2005. Last year, Ohio State paid $40.9 million to 162 survivors. In 2019, the university’s annual safety report reportedly catalogued 1,430 allegations of fondling and 47 rape allegations against Strauss.