MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — An independent investigation has found the University of Minnesota complied with applicable laws and rules following sexual assault allegations made against a number of members of the Golden Gophers football team last fall.
The investigation was done with the help of outside legal counsel from the local law firm Dorsey and Whitney.
Throughout their investigation, attorneys interviewed 26 witnesses, a group that includes both current and former members of the athletic department.
While the university didn’t break any policies or laws, investigators did note that student athletes were confused when it came to the relationship between the criminal justice system, university policies, NCAA regulations and FERPA restrictions.
They also noted that weak leadership and influence from third parties may have contributed to the boycott of the football team last December, although they wouldn’t disclose who those third parties were.
“Part of it is based on confidential information that was delivered to the university, but look at what happened. You had a team that announced that they intended to boycott in large part due to the circumstances. The coaching staff had lost control over the team in exerting influence in its decision making,” John Marti, of Dorsey and Whitney, said.
Attorney Ryan Pacyga represented one of the accused players, and he was also one of 26 witnesses interviewed in the report.
“I can tell you that I wasn’t that third party,” Pacyga said.
He feels the University could have handled the situation better.
“We’re not asking that accused students be treated specially. We just want them to be treated fairly,” Pacyga said.
The report also notes that the university has one of the strongest and most robust policies when it comes to students and discipline of the Big Ten schools and might serve as an example to other universities in the future.