Judge dismisses Gophers football players’ discrimination lawsuit

The lawsuit, filed in June of last year, accused University administrators of gender and race bias in a 2016 investigation of an alleged sexual assault.

The Gopher football team huddles during a time out on Saturday, Sept. 15 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Courtney Deutz

The Gopher football team huddles during a time out on Saturday, Sept. 15 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Imani Cruzen

A judge has dismissed a discrimination lawsuit against the University of Minnesota filed by former and current Gophers football players.

U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank filed to grant the University’s request to dismiss the lawsuit Tuesday. The lawsuit, filed in June last year, claimed the players, all of whom are black, faced racial and gender bias during a 2016 investigation of an alleged sexual assault. The University motioned to dismiss the suit in November.

An investigation by the University into the alleged sexual assault resulted in four expulsions and one one-year suspension. President Eric Kaler, University Title IX Coordinator Tina Marisam and the Board of Regents were listed as defendants in the lawsuit.

According to court documents, University officials acted appropriately in disciplining the players.

“Moreover, it appears that the conduct at issue is plainly within the scope of Defendants’ employment with the University,” the order to dismiss read.

The lawsuit alleged the players encountered “extreme gender bias.” It also claims white athletes and athletic department staff were treated differently when facing similar accusations.

“Because of Plaintiffs’ gender, and to support an archaic assumption that male football players had a propensity for sexual misconduct against women, the [University’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action] investigators deprived Plaintiffs of the fair and impartial investigation to which they were entitled under the U.S. Constitution and University policies and procedures,” the lawsuit read.