MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gopher head football coach Tracy Claeys is standing behind his players as they refuse to practice or play until 10 teammates are back on the field.
The boycott means they may miss their bowl game in less than two weeks.READ MORE: MN Rep. Ilhan Omar Visits Afghan Evacuees At Fort McCoy Calling It 'Uplifting' And 'Emotional'
Ten players were suspended indefinitely Tuesday. The team said Claeys did not make the decision. Athletic director Mark Coyle did, they said, then gave misleading statements when he met with the team Wednesday.
The team gathered Thursday without coaches present at their indoor practice facility. They offered a statement of unity, saying they won’t play until their teammates are reinstated, and want apologies from Coyle and University President Eric Kaler.
Four of the 10 players were suspended earlier in the fall over sexual assault allegations. They were reinstated when prosecutors declined to file charges. Then, an independent university investigation resulted in the suspension and possible expulsion of not only those four, but six others.
Senior wide receiver Drew Woltitarsky said due process was not given to their teammates.READ MORE: Man Dies In Lake Street Shooting
The players encouraged the athletic director to act swiftly given that preparations for the bowl game have ceased and the game itself against Washington State is just two weeks away in San Diego.
Kaler and Coyle said in a statement that “not everyone can have all the facts, and unfortunately the University cannot share more information.” Claeys posted his thoughts on Twitter: