On Thursday, December 15th, the entire Minnesota Golden Gophers football team said it was boycotting all football activities, possibly including the December 27th Holiday Bowl Game, because of the suspension of 10 of their fellow players.
The saga began in September, when a female college student went to an off-campus party following the Gophers’ first winning game.
By her own account, she did 10 shots of vodka before going to the party.
She engaged in sexual activities with at least five of the players attending the party.
By her own admission she did not object, though later she said she felt intimidated.
The next day she made a report to local police complaining that she had been raped.
The five players who had sex with her were suspended pending the results of the police investigation.
However, the police refused to press charges when video clips of the incident showed the female student apparently consenting and stating how much fun she was having.
The players and the female student reached an agreement where they would stay away from each other and promised not to sue in the future.
At that point, the players’ suspensions from the team were lifted and the Gophers went on to an 8-4 season.
But just because the accuser was satisfied with the outcome does not mean the university was done.
Then, the University of Minnesota Title IX Commission began its own investigation.
These are not legal proceedings, and are not open to the public. All its proceedings are secret.
This commission decided that all 10 players who were at the party were to be suspended from the football team, and five of the players would be expelled.
Note: This is despite the fact that police and local prosecutors decided there was not enough evidence to prosecute.
The players met with Athletic Director Mark Coyle on Wednesday, who according to the players, did not give any reason for their teammates’ expulsions.
On Thursday the team held a press conference announcing their decision to boycott all practices and the Holiday Bowl if necessary, until the due process rights of their teammates are respected.
This might actually get the university’s attention.
The school’s athletic department stands to lose $2.7 million if the school doesn’t participate, according to StatisticsBrain.com.
The reason why the university decided to investigate is because of federal money tied to the Title IX program.
Originally, Title IX was created by the Nixon administration to ensure female athletics would receive equitable funding.
This applied to any university or high school receiving federal funds.
The courts expanded its role in 2007 to cover campus rape and sexual assault.
Many universities claim if they don’t take aggressive action and expel students accused of rape or sexual assault, the university could be sued.
In short, it is cheaper and easier to expel an accused student — facts be damned.
As a result, many students find themselves expelled just because they were accused without any evidence.
When the expelled student tries to protest or clear their name, they find out that all the proceedings are sealed and they are prohibited from speaking about the specifics of the incident.
According to the Star Tribune, the players want an apology from University President Eric Kaler and Athletic Director Mark Coyle for the suspension and immediate reinstatement of the players.