Minnesota Is Right To Suspend Football Players Indefinitely
University of Minnesota president Eric Kaler said the decision to indefinitely suspend 10 members of the school’s football team for their alleged roles in a reported gang rape on Sept. 2 was based on the university’s “values,” even though the players were never criminally charged and a district attorney declined to pursue the case because of lack of physical evidence. After reading both the police report and the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office report, Minnesota is right to make this stand and the players look really bad.
The Minnesota Code of Conduct Usurps A Court of Law Here
In order to get a criminal conviction for sexual assault, the prosecutor would have to prove guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is a he said/she said proposition and a matter of interpretation regarding whether she consented. Getting a jury to find them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt would be incredibly difficult. It seems like her initial encounter with Djam (Minnesota player) and the recruit was consensual but the rest weren’t. From what it sounds like, the videos shown to police were of that initial encounter — 90 seconds out of 90 minutes worth of activity. Just because she consented to sex with them doesn’t mean she consented to sex with up to 10-15 more men that night.
For the university code of conduct, the standard is just a “preponderance of the evidence” or, basically, a statement that the fact that this occurred is more likely than not. That is a much lower standard. Given some of the statements by the players themselves to the investigators (at least 2 said there came a point when they didn’t think she wanted it) and her description of events, it’s a pretty easy standard to reach. That’s why you see the university punishing students but no criminal charges. The EOAA report also concludes that the players who were watching and egging it on or taking video without the girl’s knowledge violated the code of conduct and I don’t think those things were even considered by the DA.
It should be noted that several Minnesota basketball players were suspended last year after a video surfaced on social media of several having sex with one woman. I don’t think there was a question about whether it was consensual, but it was still considered a breach of the code of conduct. After that incident, the football players should’ve certainly been on notice that something like that would not be tolerated.
They look awful boycotting all football activities for their behavior here which, whether you agree with the factuality of it or not, certainly fails to meet the bar of the code of student conduct.