On December 15, the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers football team announced it would boycott all football activities — including an upcoming bowl game — until athletics director Mark Coyle lifted the expulsions and suspensions of ten players for their connection to an alleged sexual assault. On December 17, the team ended its boycott.
Here's a quick explanation of the boycott and how Title IX made national headlines over the past few days.
Why were the football players boycotting the bowl game?
The Gophers football team was boycotting the bowl game because they wanted the suspensions of ten of their teammates lifted by Athletics Director Mark Coyle.
Why were the football players suspended from team activities?
The ten players were suspended for their involvement in an alleged sexual assault earlier in the year.
Why were those ten football players suspended by the University?
The players were all either recommended for expulsion, suspension, or probation by the University's Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) for their connection to the alleged sexual assault.
What does the EOAA office do?
EOAA investigates complaints of sexual assault and harassment, stalking, relationship violence and retaliation on campus.
Did the police investigate the reported assault?
Yes. The alleged victim reported the sexual assault to police after the incident. Four of the players were being investigated for their involvement in the incident.
On October 3, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office declined to pursue charges against the players. None of the players were arrested.
Then what happened?
The players participated in all football activities until the victim from the alleged assault obtained restraining orders against all four players, plus two additional teammates.
The restraining orders barred the players from TCF Bank Stadium, meaning that while they were still on the team, they could not play in home games.
Were the restraining orders lifted?
Yes. The restraining orders were lifted on November 2 after a settlement was reached between five of the players and the victim. The five players were ordered to stay at least twenty feet away from the alleged victim.
What happens now?
The football team resumed practice Sunday in preparation to play in San Diego in less than ten days.