Three Gophers basketball players who were suspended in late February will be permitted to return to the team next season without further punishment.
Sophomore Nate Mason and freshmen Kevin Dorsey and Dupree McBrayer were suspended for the team’s final four games — all defeats, including a first-round loss to Illinois in the Big Ten tournament — after sex videos appeared on the social media accounts of Dorsey.
Dorsey was the only player identified in the videos by those who saw them. The university has not linked the three suspensions to the video, saying only that the punishments were because of “violating team rules.”
Coach Richard Pitino was not made available to comment Tuesday. Earlier this month, the third-year coach said he would “re-evaluate” the student-athletes’ statuses after the season.
“We had to make some difficult decisions,” he said then of the suspensions. “But after a couple of days of long, hard thinking and talking everything over with my staff and with [interim athletic director Beth Goetz], we took actions we felt were necessary.”
The three remained on the team through February and March but were not allowed to play in games. The Gophers finished the season with an 8-23 record, the most losses in program history.
Associate athletic communications director Dan Reisig said there will be no further suspension or punishment for the players going into next season.
The three suspensions were the latest off-court troubles for the program. Pitino dismissed senior guard Carlos Morris for “conduct detrimental to the team” in February. Last season, Pitino dismissed transfer Zach Lofton before the start of the season for “failing to meet the expectations and obligations of the team.” A month later, Daquein McNeil was arrested for allegedly committing two counts of felony assault. Dorsey was also suspended for one exhibition game in November for “failing to meet his academic obligations as a student-athlete.”
Dorsey, Mason and McBrayer combined to average 26.5 points per game and are considered a major part of the team’s future. Mason led the Gophers in scoring (13.8 points per game) and assists (4.5). Dorsey averaged 6.8 points per game and McBrayer 5.9, both developing into key players as the season progressed.
Next season, promising recruits Amir Coffey, Eric Curry and Michael Hurt, and transfers Reggie Lynch and Davonte Fitzgerald will join Mason, McBrayer, Dorsey and top freshman Jordan Murphy in what is expected to be Pitino’s best roster in his three seasons at Minnesota.