The Golden Gophers have fired football coach Tracy Claeys, according to several reports out of Minnesota. None of the reports offer anything official about why he was fired, but the move does follow a bowl game win—and the program getting criticism for when the players threatened to boycott the game, with Claeys’s support, in a sign of solidarity with the 10 football players suspended after a university sexual assault investigation.
The boycott threat happened Dec. 15, with players demanding a reversal of the suspensions and a private meeting with university officials, and saying they wanted to “make our program great again.” Claeys, that day, tweeted this:
The next day, a copy of the university’s 80-page investigative findings were obtained by KSTP-TV. They included text messages that said “rail hella hoes,” “if she aint tryna fck imma be pissed,” and “Damn A10, all 3 them n****s hitting rn.” It included graphic details about what the woman said happened that night, with multiple football players forcing her to have sex with them while others watched and a few moments were recorded. The report also included summaries of what multiple football players said in their interviews. The football players all said the sex was consensual, but the university said it believed the evidence they gathered made the woman more credible.
The next day, after the document became public, the players changed their minds, and agreed to play in the Holiday Bowl without their teammates. Currently, 10 Gophers players are suspended, with five of them recommended for expulsion, their attorney has said. The players are appealing, according to the Star Tribune.
The case also was investigated by Minneapolis police, who passed their findings on to local prosecutors. Twice the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office has said it does not believe it has enough evidence to bring a criminal case, although its second statement did call the football players’ conduct “deplorable behavior.”
Update (6:42 p.m.): ESPN’s Brett McMurphy talked quarterback Mitch Leidner and an unnamed “underclassman.” They had this to say about the firing:
He had this from Minnesota’s athletic director: