The Minnesota Golden Gophers continued boycott of all football activities over the suspension of 10 football players will likely lead to them pulling out of the Holiday Bowl. School administrators and the team met tonight but with no resolution and with a 12 p.m. deadline looming Saturday to make a decision, it appears the Holiday Bowl will be looking for a new opponent for WSU.
The players haven’t been doing anything team related since an investigation from the Equal Opportunity and Affirmation Action committee at the university determined the 10 players should either be expelled from school or suspended. The punishments come from their alleged involvement in the gang rape of a woman off-campus in September.
No charges were filed by the county prosecutor in the case because there was “insufficient, admissible evidence for prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that either force was used or that the victim was physically helpless as defined by law in the sexual encounter” according to a statement provided to KSTP-TV in Minneapolis.
The EOAA’s investigation requires merely a preponderance of evidence, or, whether the incident “more than likely” occurred.
As for who WSU will now be playing in the Holiday Bowl, they’ll have to go to teams on the “5-7 with a good APR score” list and the first of those is the Northern Illinois Huskies. There were some concerns about NIU being able to get to San Diego in time, especially considering their semester is over and the team hasn’t practiced since late November, but their athletic director isn’t worried:
All due respect to reports concerning Bowl difficulties! We have played in 8 straight Bowl games & can manage our way through logistics! https://t.co/IFHthKexfR— Sean T. Frazier (@SeanTFrazier) December 17, 2016
At the very least, we’ll find out tomorrow if Minnesota will be coming to San Diego or not. I’d expect an announcement of a new opponent should they decide to stay at home to come shortly after.