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University Of Minnesota Football Team Ends Boycott, Will Play Bowl Game

The University of Minnesota's football team had refused to take part in any preparations for their upcoming bowl game, after 10 players were suspended. The school's stadium is seen here in a 2012 file photo.
Paul Battaglia

Ending a boycott that was sparked by the suspension of 10 players over an alleged sexual assault, the University of Minnesota's football team says they'll play in the Dec. 27 Holiday Bowl. The team relented after meeting with school administrators Friday.

In addition to promising to play in the game in San Diego later this month, the team sought to clarify its position.

"Let me first state so there is no misperception: sexual harassment and violence against women have no place on this campus, on our team, in our society, and at no time is it ever condoned," said senior wide receiver Drew Wolitarski.

The team's statement, delivered by Wolitarski, also faulted the school's leaders for not giving them any advance notice about the suspensions.

The players had earlier complained that several of the athletes had already been punished with multiple-game suspensions because of the case, and that the new suspensions — and in some cases, potential expulsions — levied by the university's Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action had come without due process.

From St. Paul, Minnesota Public Radio's Tim Nelson reports:

"The University of Minnesota suspended 10 members of the football team this week in the wake of an incident in September, when a student reported she'd been sexually assaulted by a number of young men in a player's Minneapolis apartment. Authorities declined to press criminal charges, and the woman later agreed not to seek any civil action. But the University said it was considering discipline on its own.

"Players announced a boycott because of the suspensions. But after a meeting with school president Eric Kaler and other school officials last night, the players changed their minds."

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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