MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Nine black former and current University of Minnesota football players who say their rights were violated in a sexual misconduct investigation sued the school on Friday, alleging they are victims of racial and gender discrimination.
The federal lawsuit stems from the university's investigation into an alleged gang rape of a female student in September 2016 that implicated 10 players for a range of alleged misconduct. Prosecutors declined to file criminal charges due to insufficient evidence, but five students were ultimately expelled or suspended, while five others were cleared.
The lawsuit alleges the university treated the plaintiffs as "scapegoats to appease federal authorities and to deflect public scrutiny" over the school's handling of sexual harassment allegations against white men in the athletics department, including former athletics director Norwood Teague. Teague resigned in 2015 after two high-ranking administrators said he sexually harassed them at a senior leadership retreat.