12.17.16 | Travis Waldron
Eric W. Kaler said the school’s values were more important than the team’s scheduled Holiday Bowl appearance
The University of Minnesota president and athletic director on Friday refused to yield to protesting football players, who walked out of practice and threatened to boycott their upcoming bowl game over the suspensions of 10 teammates involved in a campus sexual assault investigation.
Minnesota President Eric W. Kaler and Athletic Director Mark Coyle told players in statements Friday evening their duty to uphold the school’s values and protect students was more important than an end-of-season bowl game.
“One of my jobs as President is to put our institutional values at the forefront of all we do and ensure our actions are aligned with those values,” Kaler said. “This principle is far more important than any football game and the University community as a whole, and it is more important than any single athletic team.”
The statement was a response to football team members’ appearance outside Minnesota athletic facilities Thursday night to pledge that they would not participate in football activities until the suspensions of 10 teammates were reversed. The boycott could include the team’s scheduled appearance in the Dec. 27 Holiday Bowl in San Diego.
“The boycott will remain in effect until due process is followed and the suspensions for all 10 players involved are lifted,” Drew Wolitarsky, a senior wide receiver, said as he stood with the entire team.