This was brought to my attention by an e-mailer: Kimberly Hewitt resigned from the University of Minnesota last month to take a job at Johns Hopkins University that starts on March 6.
Hewitt has been the head of the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action office at the U of M, the people that issued the 82-page report that led to the suspensions of 10 Gophers football players.
The contention here has been the report was one-sided from the get-go, particularly with the inclusion of the claim that 10 or more players lined up to have sex with the young woman who made the complaint to the EOAA office.
There is this strong indication not even the EOAA staff believed that tremendously harmful accusation was credible:
If the staff members felt it was a legitimate claim, that 10 or more players had sexual contact with the woman, you would not have had five of the 10 recommended for expulsion … it would have been all of them.
This was thrown into the report by the EOAA to make the players’ conduct appear as horrific as possible. You might say the report never was intended for public consumption, but that’s no excuse. There was a 100% chance one of the reports circulated was going to land with the media (it turned out to be KSTP-TV).
Go back and check Twitter, other social forums and including some national commentary. The idea of 10-plus players lined up to have sex with the young woman went from an outrageous claim inside the long, one-sided report to the popular narrative.
My opinion is that story line -- 10-plus players lined up to have sex with an unwilling participant -- had more to do with the public turning against fired coach Tracy Claeys than did his unfortunate Tweet or the players’ two-day boycott (which was actually a protest).
The protest was fueled by the players’ complete confusion on how the discipline recommended by the EOAA had gone from five players (the number in an earlier restraining order) to 10 being suspended from Holiday Bowl preparations.
When the players sought an explanation from athletic director Mark Coyle, all he had to offer was double-speak, and that’s when their confusion turned to full-blown anger.
The December protest seems more justified than ever after Friday’s decision to remove the discipline from four of the 10 players.
I sent out a series of Tweets on the @1500espn_reusse account on Dec. 20 outlining through sources the sexual encounters that took place: intercourse with four players and a recruit, and oral sex with another player.
Obviously, it was not a golden moment for Gophers football, and the young woman during or after became traumatized, but the EOAA report authorized by Hewitt did drag through the muck the reputations of at least four players who were not involved to a degree that required discipline.
The sources I was using for the Dec. 20 information said this:
Antonio Shenault was involved in no way. Antoine Winfield Jr. went to the room to retrieve the recruit who had somehow heard about what was going on and left to join in. Seth Green never entered the room.
The discipline against those three was overturned Friday, along with that of Kobe McCrary, after a university hearing. That left four players expelled and two with a one-year suspension.
The suspension that still stands against Mark Williams is said by his defenders to have little merit and they are hoping to have it overturned in an appeal to the university provost.
As for Kimberly Hewitt, if the 82-page EOAA report was her idea of a fair finding for the accuser and all of the accused, then her departure is not only Johns Hopkins’ gain but also the University of Minnesota’s.