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Gophers football coach says ‘great chance’ could lose job over boycott stance

Gopher football coach Tracy Claeys
Coach Tracy Claeys

Gopher football coach Tracy Claeys says he could get the boot for supporting his players. In the Pioneer Press, Andy Greder reports, “Claeys said it was ‘pretty easy’ to get behind his players’ boycott effort to support 10 suspended teammates but acknowledged that stance against University of Minnesota leaders holds a ‘great chance’ of him losing his job. Claeys shared details of the boycott, and possible implications for his future in Minnesota, during an interview on WCCO-AM on Sunday morning. ‘There is a great chance I could lose my job over this because … you’re split between being a university employee and at the same time — whether people believe it or not — when you’re a coach, you’re a parent of kids also,’ Claeys said Sunday ‘That’s a tough situation to be in, so that was the commitment on my part. I knew that was a possibility of happening.’”

In the Star Tribune, Joe Christensen caught up with Regents chair Dean Johnson. “On Gophers players facing penalties without first having a hearing: ‘When someone is suspended without hearing – and I think that’s the gist of why the football team decided to boycott; they felt there had been allegations without hearing. I’ve talked to [university President Eric Kaler] about this many times, that somehow we need to take a look at that notification hearing process. You know the old adage, ‘You’re innocent until proven guilty?’ I’m not sure that was true in this case.’”

In The Minnesota Daily, Mike Hendrickson writes, “All 10 players suspended from football activities plan to file lawsuits against ‘everyone,’ including potential suits against the alleged victim-survivor, Lee Hutton — the attorney representing all 10 players — told the Minnesota Daily. He wouldn’t disclose other possible recipients of a suit, but added they would come ‘pretty soon.’” ‘We have certain individuals that we believe have infringed on my clients’ constitutional and civil rights, and possibly have provided collusion in other civil conspiracy claims that damaged my clients’ image,’ Hutton said.” Christmas comes a week early for lawyers.

Nationally renown Minnesota-based security blogger Bruce Schneier is getting a lot of attention for his post on what he’ll be doing for the next four years. “Like many, I was surprised and shocked by the election of Donald Trump as president. I believe his ideas, temperament, and inexperience represent a grave threat to our country and world. Suddenly, all the things I had planned to work on seemed trivial in comparison. Although Internet security and privacy are not the most important policy areas at risk, I believe he — and, more importantly, his cabinet, administration, and Congress — will have devastating effects in that area, both in the US and around the world.”

Certainly their chances for being great again are increasing? Says Tom Cherveny for the Forum News Service, “Growing income disparity has created an ‘opportunity gap’ that is putting the American dream out of reach for many of today’s young people, including those who call southwest Minnesota their home. ‘A social and cultural shift is occurring throughout our region,’ said Robert Thurston, chairman of the Southwest Initiative Foundation board of directors. ‘It’s no longer out of sight, out of mind.’ Thurston addressed 560 people who attended a ‘Grow Our Own’ summit the organization hosted Thursday at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.”

Maybe this will help. Stribber Allison Sherry writes, “President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to spend billions of dollars on new road and bridge projects could dramatically reshape Minnesota’s transportation priorities, potentially bringing private investment to finance massive public works projects. … Even before he has taken office, Trump’s team has pitched a private investment model that would devote more than $100 billion in tax incentives to lure private businesses to invest in projects.” Of course, paying tolls to Bechtel to cross from one side of town to the other could get annoying.

Just like old times! Barry Amundson of the Forum folks says, “The lowest temperature report relayed by the National Weather Service in Duluth on Sunday morning was 38 below zero at Embarrass. In northwest Minnesota, it wasn’t much better. Park Rapids and Staples had the lowest in that region with a low of 29 below. Fargo had 20 below overnight, while Moorhead and Grand Forks, both came in at 24 below at its coldest point. Brad Hopkins of the National Weather Service said Bagley in far northwest Minnesota took the honors for wind chill at 55 below. He said Lake Park near Detroit Lakes wasn’t far behind at 50 below.” Dang. That’s braggin’ weather!

And the stats on the snow, cold and bad driving? WCCO-TV says, “Following another weekend of significant snowfall, Minnesota saw more than 1,000 crashes on slick roads, leaving dozens injured and at least two dead. The State Patrol says there were 1,148 crashes and 1,498 spinouts on Minnesota roadways since snow started falling Friday night. The two fatal crashes happened in northern Minnesota, with one near Brainerd and one near Thief River Falls. No details on these crashes were immediately available. Of the 110 crashes that left people injured, two of them left victims with serious injuries.”

Back in the Big 10. Pete Thamel at Sports Illustrated says, “Former Minnesota coach Jerry Kill will be the next offensive coordinator at Rutgers, according to a source with direct knowledge of the hire. Kill has agreed to join the staff and the details of his contract are being finalized. An announcement is expected soon. Kill, 55, spent the 2016 season as an associate athletic director at Kansas State. Prior to that, he was a successful head coach for more than two decades, including stops at Minnesota, Northern Illinois and Southern Illinois. Kill was the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2014 and led the Gophers to a 29–29 record in five seasons with them.” 

Brave girls. Stribber Paul Walsh says, “With one sex crime conviction already on his record by age 19, a Minneapolis man has been found guilty of sex trafficking, this time involving girls as young as 14. Jurors in federal court in St. Paul convicted Deuvontay S. Charles, now 21, last week of 20 counts including sex trafficking a minor, producing and receiving child pornography and other felony charges. [Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura M. ] Provinzino praised the ‘four brave girls’ who testified in the six-day trial that they were victimized by Charles.”

Let’s keep that crazy sovereignty business out of this case! In the Bismarck Tribune, Caroline Grueskin reports, “The first pipeline protesters will go on trial Monday and the prosecutor is asking that they keep issues of tribal sovereignty, the concerns about the Dakota Access Pipeline and ‘any other social or political cause’ out of the courtroom. … But a local criminal defense attorney involved in the protest cases said the 10 people set to be tried on disorderly conduct charges have ‘a right to explain why they were there,’ which the prosecutor’s request seems to preclude.

There will be a few more. Says Chao Xiong for the Strib, “The St. Anthony police officer charged with killing Philando Castile is scheduled to appear in court Monday afternoon for his second hearing in the case. Jeronimo Yanez, 28, is expected to appear for a 1:15 p.m. omnibus hearing, during which guilty or not guilty pleas are typically entered. However, one of his attorneys, Thomas Kelly, said Yanez would not be entering any pleas Monday, nor would attorneys address a motion by the defense to dismiss the case.”

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Greg Price on 12/19/2016 - 08:09 am.

    Gophers are a sorry group

    If I was the AD at MN…Claeys days would be numbered as well…the allegations are sickening….

    Claeys has responsibility for the program and if that is the type of young men that he has to bring in and “mold”….well the program would probably better off with a losing record…

    Lets get a real coach here instead of perpetual lame ducks….

    Get the guy from NDSU…he has proven he can beat the gophers and compete in the big ten while coaching in Fargo.

    Greg Price

  2. Submitted by Pat Terry on 12/19/2016 - 08:36 am.

    Shut it down

    The Gopher Football program is an absolute disgrace.

  3. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 12/19/2016 - 09:32 am.

    Great idea Gophers…

    Sue everyone and get that woman’s story out there. What happened to her is horrible and for this dude who claims to be like a parent to these guys to defend them makes it all the worst. What parent tells his kid that its okay to stand in line with eight other guys outside a bedroom door and wait to have sex with a woman who may or may not be willing (Here’s a hint guys NO woman does this willingly.) Its sick and depraved and the Gopher’s season should be ended and everyone involved in defending them should be fired.

  4. Submitted by Steven Prince on 12/19/2016 - 10:56 am.

    How does Claeys still have a job? If you read the EEOC and police reports giving every benefit of a doubt to the football players involved you know:

    a football player facilitated a group sex incident in his bedroom involving himself and a high school recruit in his charge with a young woman;

    he used a group messaging system called “Empire” to demean the woman, distribute videos of the sexual encounter he did not have permission to take or distribute, and facilitate sexual contact between the woman (still in his bedroom) with 4-10 (perhaps more) football players;

    the football players involved claim the sex was consensual (although their reported testimony says otherwise), the woman says she was prevented from leaving by the group of football players watching and waiting for their “turn.”

    The football players involved coordinated to erase discriminating messages and videos; refused to cooperate with the U investigation and lied to investigators.

    two players were “exonerated” by the investigative report.

    The incident happened 9/1. Did Claeys impose any discipline on the freshman class? Did he have access to the Empire messages and videos deleted, or communicate with the conspirators who coordinated the destruction of evidence? Did Claeys have access to the EEOC report before his reprehensible tweet? Why isn’t the press asking these tough questions of the coach? Why is the only narrative being reported that of Claeys and the players’ lawyer? Since when do college football players have a “right” to put on the U’s uniform and represent Minnesota on a national stage? Why is Claeys talking about “due process” instead of acknowledging his players gang raped a fellow student and explaining what steps he took (not the office of EEOC, the courts or the U President) to discipline those involved?

  5. Submitted by Howard Salute on 12/19/2016 - 12:01 pm.

    Athletes sign away their right to “Due Process”

    Claeys is wrong on so many issues and his lack of understanding and leadership is shocking.

    At a minimum, when he learned of a boycott possibility, he should have met with the team captains and explained reality to them.

    Hi needs to be fired.

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