After an extremely tumultuous ending to the 2016 season, Minnesota’s football program is currently in a strange state of limbo.
The Gophers beat Washington State in the Holiday Bowl on Tuesday night, a game that for a time it appeared Minnesota would not even play in due to a boycott earlier this month following the suspension of 10 players.
With the game now over, focus has shifted to head coach Tracy Claeys’ job status. On Wednesday, athletic director Mark Coyle released a short statement offering an update on where Minnesota stands with its program, and mentioned Claeys by name.
— Chris Long (@ChrisLongKSTP) December 28, 2016
“Now that our football team has completed its season following an exciting win in Tuesday night’s Holiday Bowl, coach Claeys and I will take this opportunity to reflect on this past season before sitting down together to talk about the future and my expectations for our football program,” Coyle said in the statement.
Coyle will review a Minnesota football season during which four players were suspended in September as police investigated an alleged incident in which the players were reportedly connected to a sexual assault. Then as the team prepared for the Holiday Bowl, 10 players were suspended, the reason again reportedly stemming from the alleged sexual assault.
On Dec. 15, the players announced their boycott following the suspensions. The boycott ended Dec. 17 after the players read details of the investigation.
Claeys tweeted his support of the players and their boycott on Dec. 15
Have never been more proud of our kids. I respect their rights & support their effort to make a better world! 〽️?
— GoldenGopherHFC (@GoldenGopherHFC) December 16, 2016
Claeys, whose contract runs through the end of the 2018 season, went on a radio station in mid-December and told WCCO-AM 830 his job was in jeopardy due to his supporting of the player’s boycott.