Gophers Senior Wide Receiver Drew Wolitarsky speaks for the football players at a press conference Saturday.
MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Senior members of the Gophers football team announced Saturday morning they have ended their boycott and will immediately begin preparing for the Holiday Bowl. Wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky, elected the players' spokesperson, said the decision was made after a Friday meeting with University of Minnesota officials.
“There are no right choices, there are no decisions that do not affect somebody else," Wolitarsky said. "As a team, we understand that what has occurred these past few days and playing football for the University of Minnesota is larger than just us."
On Thursday night, the team announced a boycott of all team activities until the suspensions of 10 players under a sexual assault investigation are lifted.
Saturday morning, Wolitarsky said it became clear the team's demand would not be met.
"After many hours of discussion within our team, and after speaking with President Kaler, it became clear that our original request of having the 10 suspensions overturned was not going to happen."
In an exclusive interview with Fox 9, University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler said he met with the team in a closed door meeting.
"We had a productive conversation, I think we found some middle ground and that's about all I can say right now,” said Kaler. "I think we had a good exchange of views, I understood them better I hope they understand me better,"
Before meeting with the players, Kaler had released a statement, which can be viewed here. So far, the suspensions remain.
10 players suspended
On Tuesday, the team learned 10 players had been suspended indefinitely following the results of internal University of Minnesota investigation into the allegations, conducted by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. Some of the 10 Gophers players are facing not just team suspensions, but expulsion from the university.
The players are: redshirt freshman Ray Buford, redshirt sophomore running back Carlton Djam, freshman quarterback Seth Green, sophomore defensive back KiAnte Hardin, redshirt freshman defensive back Dior Johnson, freshman defensive lineman Tamarion Johnson, junior running back Kobe McCrary, sophomore defensive back Antonio Shenault, freshman quarterback Mark Williams and freshman defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr.
Document details incident leading to suspensions
An Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action report shows university investigators did not have all of the evidence available to law enforcement from the incident involving Gophers football players.
The more than 80-page document describes an alleged sexual assault in September, involving a young woman and multiple Gophers players and a college recruit. The incident was investigated by law enforcement, but charges were never filed.
According to the summary of evidence collected, the University requested all notes, documents, recordings, videos and other information from the Hennepin County Police Department investigation, but the Hennepin County Attorney's Office did not share the information with the University.