Minnesota football players’ discrimination lawsuit dismissed Wisconsin’s Fickell promotes Letton to tight ends coach Jim Harbaugh: Michigan good place to be despite challenges

MINNEAPOLIS — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by nine former University of Minnesota football players who were accused of sexual misconduct in 2016 in a case that rocked the high school football program.

The lawsuit against the school alleged that the players faced emotional distress and financial damage after being falsely accused of sex crimes. The players, identified in the lawsuit as John Dawes, were seeking unspecified damages for willful and malicious discrimination.

The woman claimed that up to a dozen football players raped her or watched and cheered for an off-campus party in 2016. None of the players were charged.

The university found that 10 football players committed sexual harassment. Five of them were expelled or suspended for violating student conduct rules, while the rest were acquitted on appeal.

In their lawsuit, the players alleged that the woman initiated sexual contact with the players and an underage recruit.

U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank dismissed the lawsuit last week, saying the former players failed to prove any of their claims, including allegations of bias from university investigators or pressure from athletic director Mark Coyle and former president Eric Kahler, reports Minneapolis Star Tribune. .

David Majet, the players’ lawyer, said Tuesday they are considering an appeal but must determine whether it makes financial sense and in terms of allowing former players to continue with their lives. He said he was disappointed that the outcome was determined by the judge’s version of events rather than by a jury’s decision.

“It’s unfortunate to see disputes being resolved this way,” Madjet said. “Recently, more and more people decide this way. … It’s disappointing that you didn’t get your day in court.”

When the allegations became public in 2016, the players threatened to boycott the team’s trip to the Holiday Bowl. But after the graphic report of the investigation was published, the players agreed to play the game.

University of Minnesota spokesman Jake Reeker said the school appreciates the judge’s decision confirming the actions taken in the case. He said the university will continue its work, with a focus on educating, preventing and responding to sexual harassment.

Frank dismissed the lawsuit in 2019, but an appeals court partially reinstated it in 2021 and returned it to Frank.

The players, all of whom are black, also initially made claims of racial discrimination, but this claim was previously dismissed.

The only remaining suit for sex discrimination in Title IX. Former players have noted that they have never faced criminal charges, but Frank’s ruling stated that this “definitely does not constitute evidence of a judgment or that the plaintiffs have ‘been proven innocent'”.

The men also claimed that the university Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action investigator used “manipulative tactics” with them in the interview and that their accuser helped draft the report. The players also claimed that “previous failed investigations prompted” the school to punish them.

Frank said all claims are unsupported by evidence and “no reasonable jury can conclude that the university penalized the plaintiffs on the basis of gender.”

MADISON, Wisconsin. Wisconsin promoted Nate Letton from Quality Control Coach to Tight Ends Coach, allowing him to fill the same role as before. Luke FickellCincinnati staff last season.

Fickell, now Wisconsin’s head coach, originally chose the former Cincinnati offensive coordinator. Gino Guidugli like his tight ends coach. Guidugli has since left Wisconsin and is expected to take over as coach of the Notre Dame quarterbacks.

Letton was a graduate assistant at Cincinnati from 2020-21 before coaching tight finishes last season. His hard ends in Cincinnati included Josh WyleAll-American Sports Conference first team selection.

“Nate is an amazing young coach and we are very lucky to be able to add him to our on-field staff,” Fickell said in a statement from the university. “Having worked with him for the last three years, I have seen firsthand his tireless work ethic and his ability to unite and mentor our student athletes.”

Letton was also an assistant coach at the Central College of the Division III program from 2015 to 2019. The former center midfielder has worked with wide receivers, tight ends and attacking linemen while coaching at his alma mater.

Ann Arbor, Michigan. – Jim Harbaugh He’s had an eventful offseason, from interviews with the Denver Broncos to negotiations with the NCAA about potential violations in Michigan’s football program and the firing of an assistant coach under police investigation.

“Compare us to excellence and we’ll lose in major areas,” Harbaugh said Thursday in his first post-season appearance to reporters. “Compare us to any other program, I think you’ll see that it doesn’t get any better.”

A year after he said the door was closed to a return to the NFL, the former San Francisco 49ers coach spoke to the Broncos about their vacant coaching position, later filled by Sean Payton.

Harbaugh said several coaches on his staff were talking to NFL teams and decided to stay at the school.

“I am one of them,” he said. “People do what they think is best for them professionally and personally.”

However, there was one coaching change. According to documents released by the school, joint offensive coordinator Matt Weiss was fired in January after failing to attend a meeting to discuss whether he had accessed computer accounts belonging to other people.

“I don’t really know anything, and if I did, I don’t think I could comment on it,” Harbaugh said.

Shortly after the Wolverines lost 51–45 to TCU in the college football playoff semi-finals, Michigan announced that it had received notice that the NCAA was looking into potential rule violations in the football program.

The investigation involves inappropriate text messages and calls, including from Harbaugh, to high school applicants during the pandemic-related dead period to contact potential recruits. The NCAA is also investigating whether a member of Michigan’s off-field football staff violated rules by conducting on-field practices during practice.

Harbaugh told NCAA investigators in several meetings last month that he would not accept the charge of unethical behavior, according to a person familiar with the situation. The man spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the details of the investigation were not made public.

Harbaugh told reporters he could not comment on the NCAA case.

Hours later, Harbaugh’s spring training press conference, Ann Arbor Police tweeted a video showing a coach helping an officer clear a fallen tree from the street during last night’s ice storm.

“You’re a good man,” Officer Howard Cooper said to Harbaugh.

“Feel free to spread the word about it,” Harbaugh said. “Don’t think you have to keep it to yourself.”


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