Dec 19, 2016 04:20 AM EST
The University of Minnesota Football team has stopped going to practices to protest the suspension of 10 teammates who were accused of sexual assault. The athletes may also boycott an upcoming game if the request is not met.
NBC News reported that the school's 99-member team wants the administration to lift the suspension given to their teammates. If this goes unresolved, the team has stated that they won't play in the Dec. 27 Holiday Bowl against Washington State University.
The team is scheduled to have five practices before going to San Diego for the match. It was noted that the players felt "blindsided" by the suspensions this week. Senior quarterback Mitch Leidner remarked that "all these kids' reputations are destroyed." The teammates stood with the players who they deemed were "falsely accused" and denied of due process.
The Gophers also want an apology from university president Eric Kaler and athletic director Mark Coyle. They also ask for a closed-door meeting with two University Board of Regents members for a discussion on how to improve the program.
"I have been in contact with the chair of our board, and he is evaluating that request," Darrin Rosha, one of the board members, told NBC News. "I made clear to him that I am willing and prepared to meet with our student athletes pending a resolution of their legitimate concerns."
According to the New York Times, the football team was able to meet with the University of Minnesota president late Friday. The meeting included athletic director Mark Coyle.
Kaler believed that the meeting went well and that they had "a good exchange of views." The meeting was confirmed by Evan Lapiska, a spokesperson for the university.
The university president earlier noted that the suspensions were the result of a decision based on values by the athletics department. He added that it was not a direct consequence of the 10 players' violation of the school's code of conduct.
In a recent report by CNN, the team has agreed to attend practice again. They have also confirmed that they will be playing in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 27.
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