When will we have we had enough of the University of Minnesota athletic department? We buy stadiums and facilities on the promise they will take the major sports to the next level. Every team from softball to cross-country will benefit from increased cash flow. We pay huge contracts to coaches who will “bring in the right mix” or “take the Gopher Nation back to Pasadena.” Instead of getting much return on our investment, the athletic department is making the university look like “Animal House.” Between multiple sex scandals, stolen laptops and drug abuse, we are making some very odd choices about who stays and who goes.
We are now watching a bunch of kids who are lucky enough to get the “bowl game experience” refusing to take the field and meet their obligations after they did not meet our expectations (“U players revolt,” Dec. 16). Not only that, whatever went on in that apartment is shameful. All 120 of you, grow up! You are representing a school and a state. At best, the events that happened in that apartment were a disgusting use of your social status, at worst it was gang rape. Neither one of those cases leaves an innocent bystander.
It’s time to change the culture of Gopher athletics. If not, the reputation of the athletic program will be so tarnished that it will damage the functional programs. It would be a travesty to lose some of the programs serving Gopher fans with wins when the department becomes nationally known for scandals. School reputation matters in recruiting.
If the boys don’t want to play, get rid of them. Every last one of them. Start over. There are literally millions of players who will take their spot and might be just as embarrassing on the field. But at least Minnesota won’t be riding this embarrassment train off the field.
Lucas Burton, Denver
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It is now “see who blinks first” time, and if university President Eric Kaler and Athletic Director Mark Coyle cave, they might as well pack up their things, turn off the lights and hand the keys to the closest student walking by.
What Kaler and Coyle should do is:
1) Give an ultimatum to the players to show up to practice as expected.
2) If the players don’t, revoke all scholarships and forfeit the bowl game.
3) Then go to the NCAA and ask for a “one time” exemption to allow players from anywhere in the country transfer, without the penalty of having to sit out a year.
4) Scour every junior college to find players of character who would like an opportunity to play and study at the University of Minnesota.
These steps will help to reinforce the understanding that in life “actions have consequences.” And hopefully a firm consequence will help reset the course for those involved, as well as the others who are errantly supporting this type of behavior.
And, just as a side note: If my son were in the front row reading a statement, I would have him by the ear, or the back of his collar, and in front of our local congregations to explain the courage of his convictions and the virtue of men standing in a row laughing and waiting their turn with an inebriated young woman.
Dave Conklin, Victoria
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Except for those who were there, no one knows what really went on in that September incident in Dinkytown. Bottom line is the players were cleared from prosecution, and in a subsequent settlement between the parties, both sides agreed not to sue. Along comes the U hierarchy and expels, suspends and puts on probation the 10 players. Apparently the players are guilty until they prove their innocence, according to the president and athletic director. This is equivalent to double jeopardy. Worse, they do this just before a bowl game with no concern for the fans who have made arrangements to go to the game. They are being held hostage to the administration’s protestations that the players have violated some university rules. Considering the fact that prosecution was denied, and the parties have reached a settlement, they couldn’t wait until football season was over to make their punishments public? This is completely bogus and unfair to the players and fans who support the U.
Ralph Jedda, Peoria, Ariz.
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I am surprised that the front-page article about the “boycott” failed even to mention the “We Stand With Survivors” rally planned for 2 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium. The rally, which was planned before the boycott was announced, now takes on new significance, especially in light of Coach Tracy Claeys’ remark that his misguided players’ action in support of those suspended for sexual assault constitutes an “effort to build a better world.” A better world would be one in which our criminal-justice system held rapists and sexual predators accountable, and in which our society supported, rather than demonized, courageous sexual assault survivors who come forward.
Sally Lieberman, Minneapolis
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With the latest scandal, the time has come to end the football program. Either that or face reality and shut down the education division of our university. Enough is enough.
Lee Peterson, Tower, Minn.
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The Gopher women’s volleyball team has finished their 2016 season with an impressive 29-5-0-100-18 record: 29 wins, 5 losses — and here are the best parts — zero scandals, 100 percent fun to watch, and 18 great role models for the kids (or for any of us). This is what sport should be like, with a high-performing team that Minnesotans can cheer for and be proud of in victory and defeat, without any reservations or complications. Thank you to the student-athletes, to the coaches and other staff, and to the great Gopher fans who shared this year with all of us. We can’t wait for next season to begin.
Tom Schmitz, Minneapolis
Who’s really rattling sabers?
The Star Tribune’s Dec. 15 editorial (“Recognize Russia as a growing global threat”) is reminiscent of the thermonuclear sword rattling of the 1950s and ’60s. That we take the bait of a short wannabe big man in Moscow speaks only of our own deeply conditioned immaturity. My entire life has been steeped in the media’s reporting of our nation’s paranoias. Others, less fortunate, have been sent off to war to die for those hyped fears: Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East, what have you — adventures directly linked to back stories of our continual interference in the affairs of other nations.
I just attended my brother’s funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. His cardiologist said his heart was damaged by Agent Orange in Vietnam. This probably took more than a decade off his life. He had four purple hearts, a bronze and silver star. Vietnam won the war and now makes our Nike tennis shoes. We have learned nothing.
David Evans, Bemidji, Minn.
No mere formality
On Monday, 538 electors from our 50 states will vote. To be honest, I’ve never understood or been interested in their job. Since the presidential election, I have educated myself. I now know that their job is monumental. Each elector has the responsibility to ensure by her or his vote that the next president is qualified. Our democracy gives us the freedom to disagree on what these qualifications are. However, I believe we can all agree on the following requirements: Intelligence, honesty, a respect for diversity, equality for all Americans, a strong work ethic, the ability to compromise, patriotism. On Dec. 19, each elector has the duty, according to our Constitution, to decide if Donald Trump has these qualifications.
Deborah Galloway, Minneapolis