It’s been a tumultuous week for the University of Minnesota football program. On Tuesday, ten Gophers players were suspended indefinitely from the program reportedly as a result of a sexual assault investigation by Minnesota’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. The ten players weren’t charged by local law enforcement after an investigation by the Hennepin County police department. However, the school conducted its own investigation and decided to suspend these ten players from, not just the football team, but from the university until further notice.
Now, news came late yesterday that the rest of the team will be boycotting football activities in the wake of the suspensions. The Gophers are scheduled to play in the National Funding Holiday Bowl on December 27th against Washington State, but if the boycott persists, that may be in danger.
“I don’t think the boycott is going to work at all,” said St. Paul Pioneer Press sports columnist Bob Sansevere on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench show. “If you’re the athletic director Mark Coyle and the president Eric Kaler, they can’t back down to these players. As a matter of fact, what they should do and it wouldn’t surprise me if they did it, they have to tell these players: you’ve got to be at practice tomorrow or we will withdraw from the Holiday Bowl and all of your scholarships are put in jeopardy”
“You cannot have these players telling the administration that you need to lift the suspensions of all 10 players or we’re not going to practice. The players can’t make this decision. Quite frankly, Tracy Claeys is probably done as the head coach of the university too based on his tweet. Instead of supporting the administration that he works for, he put out a tweet that said ‘have never been more proud of our kids. I respect their right and support their efforts to make a better world. Well their efforts has just been to decided that they’re going to boycott practices.”
As for what will happen to the ten players that the university has suspended, Sansavere doesn’t believe they’ll ever play football for the University of Minnesota again.
“I’d be stunned if any of these ten players ever played for the university again,” said Sansavere. “In all likelihood, they’re not going to take the suspension, they’re going to wind up trying to play somewhere else. A lot of these guys are going to wind up leaving either by choice or the team will force their hand and the administration will force their hand.”