2 Gophers facing expulsion transfer to Arizona community college

Two University of Minnesota football players facing expulsion have announced their intent to transfer to a community college in Arizona. On Monday, Tamarion Johnson announced he would be transferring to Arizona Western Community College. On Tuesday, Ray Buford announced plans to transfer to the same school.

“Minnesota will forever be the greatest decision of my life,” Buford posted on Twitter. “Despite everything that has unfolded, I have managed to make friendships and relationships that will last a lifetime. I have brothers that will back and support me through anything. But I think it’s safe to say that my time here is over and done. I will be continuing my academic and athletic career at Arizona Western JC. Thank you to all my coaches, teammates and friends here in Minnesota. I will never forget you.”

Last Friday, a University of Minnesota student conduct panel rendered its decisions on the 10 Gophers football players suspended for violating the school's sexual harassment policy. Five of the suspensions have been upheld, four players have been cleared and one suspension has been reduced.

“Seth Green, Kobe McCrary, Antonio Shenault and Antoine Winfield Jr. are very pleased to be vindicated by the panel’s rulings," said a statement from Lee Hutton, the attorney representing nine of the players. "The allegations against them were unwarranted and could have greatly harmed their bright futures. They look forward to putting this incident behind them and moving ahead in their academic and athletic pursuits. The remaining student-athletes are very disappointed by the panel’s rulings and are exploring their options in consultation with their families.”

Carlton Djam told Fox 9 he has received a reduced suspension of one year.

The recommended punishments of expulsion for Ray Buford, KiAnte Hardin, Dior Johnson, Tamarion Johnson and suspension for Mark Williams were upheld.

No criminal charges

The alleged sexual assault happened in early September. Criminal charges were never filed. The players faced a range of discipline from one year probation to suspension to expulsion following the university’s Title IX investigation.

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.