“I made a difficult decision today on behalf of the University of Minnesota. With the support of Board of Regents’ leadership and President Eric Kaler, I have decided to take the Gophers football team in a different direction with new coaching leadership.

“I determined that the football program must move in a new direction to address challenges in recruiting, ticket sales and the culture of the program. We need strong leadership to take Gopher football to the next level and address these challenges. This decision is about the future of Minnesota football. Moving forward, we need a leader who sets high expectations athletically, academically, and socially.

“I also want to address the unfortunate blurring of the football suspension decision. On December 13, 2016, Coach Claeys, deputy athletics director John Cunningham and I met to discuss 10 student-athletes. I informed Coach Claeys of my judgment that athletic suspensions were appropriate. Without any objection, Coach Claeys said he understood that decision to bench student-athletes. Coach Claeys, deputy athletics director John Cunningham, and I met with the student-athletes to advise them of our decision. Coach Claeys subsequently informed me that he agreed with the suspension decision. ...

“Coach Claeys’ tweet later that week was not helpful. I accept that Coach Claeys intended it to support the boycotting players. Understandably others did not see it that way. ...

“Again, this has been a difficult decision. I thank Coach Claeys and his staff for their years of service.”