Minnesota football players are threatening to boycott the Gophers’ appearance in the Holiday Bowl in protest of the school’s decision to suspend 10 players following an investigation into an alleged sexual assault in September.
According to the report the players were expected to announce Thursday evening that they will boycott all football practices and team activities, and the Dec. 27 bowl game if necessary.
The school announced Tuesday that Ray Buford, Carlton Djam, Seth Green, KiAnte Hardin, Dior Johnson, Tamarion Johnson, Kobe McCrary, Antonio Shenault, Mark Williams and Antoine Winfield Jr. were suspended.
A players-only meeting was held Thursday morning. The players then informed coach Tracy Claeys of the meeting and that they would halt all practices and football-related activities. They also said they would boycott the bowl game against Washington State if the suspended players were not reinstated.
The suspensions came several weeks after a criminal investigation resulted in no arrests or charges.
Senior receiver Drew Wolitarsky read a prepared statement making the demands of the players clear, including the request of a meeting with the Board of Regents:
Some of the players were accused by a female student of a sexual assault the night before the Gophers’ first game on Sept. 2. How the other suspended players were involved is not immediately clear.
The woman’s claims were documented through police reports and led to an investigation.
Claeys said Wednesday he could not comment about the suspensions, but he did make a post on his Twitter account saying, “Have never been more proud of our kids. I respect their rights & support their effort to make a better world.”
The Gophers have an 8-4 record this season.
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