University of Minnesota Football Players Make Right Call, End Boycott [OPINION]
University of Minnesota football players ended their boycott of all football activities on Saturday, and based on everything I read within the police report and Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) Investigative Report, it's the right move.
Before I unpack what I read and my conclusions, it's important we go back to the beginning, even before the 10 Gopher football players were suspended.
This whole dilemma dates back to Sept. 2, the early morning hours after Minnesota beat Oregon State in its 2016 season opener. Without getting into any of the graphic or horrifying details, 10-plus football players were accused of sexually assaulting a female Minnesota student.
Unveiled in the police report and EOAA Investigative Report are graphic details of the acts allegedly performed by several Minnesota football players, including many detailed descriptions of sexual conduct. Using these reports, the University of Minnesota made the decision to suspend 10 football players from the 2016 Holiday Bowl between Minnesota and Washington State.
Similar to the NFL's investigative report of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, these Gophers were suspended because the EOAA Investigative Report found them "more likely than not" to be guilty of their alleged acts.
Minnesota football players banded together and decided to boycott all football activities until their teammates received the due process they deserved. The team seemed set on carrying this boycott out through the Holiday Bowl, so what changed their minds?
The EOAA Investigative Report.
According to the Star Tribune, Minnesota football players met with University President Eric Kaler Friday night. It appears Kaler revealed to the players what was in the EOAA Investigative Report during that meeting. After hearing the gruesome details of the alleged acts, Minnesota football was ready to end the boycott.
It's the right move.
I'm not going to go in-depth about what I read in the EOAA Investigative Report, mostly because it's not fit for public consumption. It's very detailed and reveals several acts that, whether consensual or not, probably aren't what most people would consider moral. However, if you so feel inclined or want to decide for yourself whether the 10 suspensions and ending of the boycott are warranted, you can read the full EOAA report here (names are redacted to protect identities).
I'm not saying the 10 suspended players are guilty. The police report itself reveals there likely isn't enough evidence to convict anyone of a crime, and we live in a society in which you're innocent until proven guilty.
However, after you read the EOAA Investigative Report and go through its breakdown of each individual's account of the night's events, you can understand why the report leans towards "more likely than not" in terms of guilt.
Also, aside from allegedly breaking the law, these 10 Minnesota players could arguably be found guilty of breaking the University of Minnesota's Student Code of Conduct. The report actually goes through each alleged offense of the University's policy for each individual player reportedly involved. Here is a brief summary of Minnesota's EOAA Investigative Report findings in regards to breaking student code and university policy (each individual allegedly involved is labeled as "A1-A12" to protect their identities):
Ending the boycott was the correct move for the Minnesota football team. Sexual assault is not something to be taken lightly or dismissed easily. I can't say whether the players allegedly involved are guilty of criminal activity or not, nor is it my place to judge guilt and innocence. We may never know the full truth unless more evidence reveals itself.
However, the University of Minnesota had the right to suspend the 10 players accused of sexual assault because of their alleged violation of university policy and student conduct. This reason alone is justification enough for Minnesota football to end their boycott. Then pile on the allegations of a very serious crime...
Minnesota football made the right decision by ending its boycott. We may never know the full truth of what happened at the Radius apartments on Sept. 2, but it's hard to argue against the EOAA Investigative Report findings and conclusions.