Gophers players, ex-coach Claeys testify in second day of hearings

The 10 Gophers players suspended for violating the school's sexual harassment policy went back in front of a student conduct panel for a second day of hearings.

The 10 Gophers football players along with attorneys and some family members filed into the meeting shortly before 1 p.m.

On Thursday, the female student reporting the incident was questioned. On Friday, it was the players’ turns along with witnesses to support their claims that this was an entirely consensual event.

Former Gophers Head Coach Tracy Claeys called in to the hearing as a witness.

"I can tell you that when he was cross-examined he just left it where it wasn't going overboard to support the players, he was very frank and matter of fact when he said ‘I don't know about some things, he meant I don't know," said Ryan Pacyga, an attorney representing Antoine Winfield Jr., a player in the case.

The players face a range of discipline from one year probation to suspension to expulsion.

The penalties, first announced in December, led to the mass boycott by the Gophers football team of their upcoming bowl game. The boycott that lasted only two days, ending after the players were fully briefed on what a university investigation had found.

The alleged sexual assault happened in early September. Criminal charges were never filed.

“We're here in the middle of a battle,” said Pacyga. “The panel is asking good questions, I think they're working hard, but we don't have a way to peer into their minds, so this is a scary process for Mr. Winfield Jr. and I imagine the other athletes that are in the room with us right now.”

Testimony ends Friday night. A ruling on punishment is expected to come within the next three to four weeks.