On Friday, the University of Minnesota announced the results of last week’s appeals hearings in the cases of the ten players suspended in December. The suspensions were in relation to an alleged sexual assault that took place at an off-campus apartment in September. While the Hennepin County sheriff’s office declined to press charges, the University recommended suspensions or expulsions for ten players, based on their own investigation.
Results Are In From Minnesota Suspension Appeals
Safety Antoine Winfield Jr., running back Kobe McCrary, and quarterback Seth Green had been recommended for one-year suspensions from the university but have had their sanctions overturned. Cornerback Antonio Shenault, for whom the school had recommended a year of probation, has also been cleared. The four players should be able to return to team activities shortly.
Quarterback Mark Williams’ one-year suspension was upheld, while running back Carlton Djam’s recommended expulsion was reduced to a one-year suspension.
Four players had their expulsions upheld: cornerbacks KiAnte Hardin and Ray Buford, defensive back Dior Johnson and defensive lineman Tamarion Johnson.
It seems crass to immediately focus on how these punishments could hurt the team, and yet it’s natural to wonder. Of the four expelled players, Hardin was by far the biggest contributor. He’s a standout corner and a very good punt returner. Two top players in the Gophers’ secondary- safety Damarius Travis and corner Jalen Myrick- have graduated, leaving the unit with some question marks. The fact that Shenault and Winfield can return is huge. Both saw significant playing time down the stretch in 2016.
As for the other cleared players, Kobe McCrary is the third-string running back on a team with two elite backs, but having him is certainly nice insurance. Seth Green is expected to be in a multi-player battle to replace senior quarterback Mitch Leidner.
This could not possibly have been an easy situation for P.J. Fleck to walk into as a new head coach, especially given how much of the fan base hadn’t wanted previous head coach Tracy Claeys to be fired. Spring ball in the Twin Cities should be interesting indeed.