Minnesota’s football team has announced it will boycott all football activities, including the Holiday Bowl, after athletic director Mark Coyle suspended 10 players. The suspensions came after a new investigation into an alleged sexual assault at an off-campus apartment in September. Those players will not play in the bowl game and five are likely to be expelled.
The Star-Tribune of Minneapolis is reporting the team had a players-only meeting during which they formulated their plan. Then the players met with head coach Tracy Claeys for more than an hour. In that meeting they claimed they would boycott if their demands were not satisfied. They do not agree with the suspension of their teammates, which was done without the involvement of Claeys.
On Thursday night, the team delivered a united announcement claiming they were boycotting all football activities, including the bowl game, unless their teammates were reinstated.
Receiver Drew Wolitarsky said the following:
“As a player, it became more than a game for me. And I know it did, as you can see, for the whole team. It’s about the livelihood of these kids, after football. Because that’s why we came here; we came here to get a degree. We come here to make a life for ourselves, and these kids’ reputations have been ruined.”
On Tuesday night, the school announced the suspensions of defensive backs Ray Buford, KiAnte Hardin, Dior Johnson, Antonio Shenault and Antoine Winfield Jr., running backs Carlton Djam and Kobe McCrary, quarterbacks Seth Green and Mark Williams and defensive lineman Tamarion Johnson.
Buford, Hardin, Dior Johnson and Tamarion Johnson were all suspended for three games earlier this year following a police investigation into the incident.
The Holiday Bowl is scheduled to take place on December 27 in San Diego, Washington State is Minnesota’s opponent.