Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said Wednesday that at least one starter will miss the team’s Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 26 because of disciplinary reasons.
“A player or players will miss the bowl game,” Fleck said. When asked how many players, Fleck said “not six to eight. That is completely inaccurate.”
Fleck was referencing a Star Tribune story last week that reported six to eight players were being disciplined for team rule violations, according to sources. The sources said those players were missing practices, and that they could face suspension from the bowl game.
Speaking for the first time since the report, Fleck declined multiple requests from reporters to specify the number of players involved.
“I’ve told you, ‘[A] player or players,’ ” Fleck repeated.
Asked if any starting players will miss the bowl game because of disciplinary action, Fleck said “a starter or starters.”
The Star Tribune’s sources said the team rule violations occurred after the Gophers beat Wisconsin 37-15 on Nov. 24, Minnesota’s first victory over Wisconsin since 2003.
Neither Fleck nor athletic director Mark Coyle returned messages seeking comment for that story. Fleck wasn’t scheduled to address the media until Wednesday, so he had not faced questions until after he introduced the Gophers’ latest recruiting class.
Fleck said there are several reasons players miss bowl practices, including studying for finals and recovering from injuries.
“We have guys that are already committed to go on to the National Football League to bypass the bowl game,” Fleck said. “We’ve got transfers that young men, right when the season ends, meet with me, talk about possibly leaving.
“… And then there’s also if anybody else breaks any rules.”
Asked what the specific rules violation was, Fleck said, “I’m not going to ever get into what student-athletes do, especially when you’re talking about student-athletes within our program.
“But again, this was nothing that was dealt with outside in a legal issue, nothing that was done in terms of domestic or violence or anything like that.”