Nine former and current Minnesota football players are suing the university for $45 million, citing racial and gender discrimination during the 2016 sexual misconduct investigation that left 10 players suspended.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court Friday. According to the Star Tribune, it states the university made the accused players the scapegoats and did not give them the “most basic due process and equal protection rights.”
The investigation began in December 2016 when a female student accused Minnesota football players of rape. That led to the suspension of 10 players. Five of them eventually were cleared and reinstated, while the other five remained suspended or were expelled.
Now, nine of these men are seeking $5 million each for “irreversible damage” brought on by an investigation that included “intentional, willful, and malicious misconduct,” according to the lawsuit.
In response, the university released a statement that it will defend its handling of the investigation.
“We are aware of the lawsuit served on behalf of several current and former students,” the school said in a statement. “The University thoughtfully and thoroughly responds when faced with disturbing allegations, and provides extensive process to students accused of misconduct, including the opportunity to be heard during thorough investigations, panel hearings, and Provost review. Further, aggrieved students have a right to review by the Minnesota Court of Appeals. We will vigorously defend the University.”