Football Team Ends Protest of Suspensions for Sexual Assault

University of Minn. was boycotting football after 10 players suspended
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2016 12:40 PM CST
Football Team Ends Protest of Suspensions for Sexual Assault
University of Minnesota wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky stands in front of other team members Thursday as he reads a statement announcing a boycott of all football activities. The team lifted its boycott Saturday.   (Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP, File)

The University of Minnesota football team has ended its boycott of all football activities—meaning the team will compete in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 27. NBC News reports the team announced the boycott Thursday after 10 players were suspended for an alleged sexual assault. Players were upset they weren't notified of the suspensions ahead of time and felt the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action investigation that led to them lacked "due process," according to NPR. The team met with school administrators Friday. They said they decided to end the boycott after "it became clear" the suspended students would not be reinstated. In return, they say the university agreed to give the suspended players a "fair hearing" with a "diverse review panel."

The 10 players are facing a range of punishments from expulsion to a one-year suspension for the alleged gang rape of a female student in September, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. The woman had been drinking when she went to a football player's apartment. According to police reports and her testimony, at least a dozen men got in line to have sex with her against her will. She says she "felt scared, trapped, isolated." She says the men ignored her cries for help, laughed at her, and cheered each other on. The accused players say the sex was consensual, and no criminal charges were filed. In a statement following the end of their boycott, the football team said, "There is no misperception: Sexual harassment and violence against women have no place on this campus, on our team." (More sexual assault stories.)

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