Restraining orders against five Gopher football players dismissed

The players will be allowed to play in Saturday’s game after an agreement was reached in court Wednesday.

Kevin Beckman

Restraining orders against five University of Minnesota football players were dismissed Wednesday after a settlement was reached during a Hennepin County District Court hearing.

The five players must stay at least 20 feet away from the University student and game day employee who filed the restraining orders. The student filed the restraining orders after an alleged sexual assault on Sept. 2.

Four of the five players named in the restraining order — KiAnte Hardin, Ray Buford, Tamarion Johnson and Dior Johnson — were suspended from playing and were investigated by the Minneapolis Police Department in connection to the report.

A fifth player — Carlton Djam — had a restraining order placed on him by the student on Oct. 19.

The Hennepin County Attorney’s office declined to press charges against the players on Oct. 3.

Gophers football head coach Tracy Claeys lifted their suspensions the next day.

The four players, along with Carlton Djam, were then served with restraining orders before Minnesota’s game against Rutgers on Oct. 22, preventing them from playing.

“I’m glad that this is over,” the student said after the hearing, reading from a prepared statement. “This has never been about punishing anyone. I just want to feel safe. Because of the resolution we came to, now I can.”

The players are also barred from contacting the student, directly, through another person or over social media.

“It’s a great, reasonable [agreement],” said Lee Hutton, the players’ attorney. “The goal for all parties was just to put this chapter behind everyone.”

The dismissal of the restraining orders allows the players to play in Saturday’s game against Purdue at TCF Bank Stadium.

The University of Minnesota supported the agreement. University attorney Brent Benrud said the school will inform the University of Minnesota Police Department and members of campus security about the agreement.

The five players are also being investigated by the school for possible student conduct code violations, Benrud said.

Four of the five players missed four games each as a result of the suspensions and restraining orders. Hardin, Buford, Djam and Dior Johnson are the only ones to have played this year.

Hardin is a regular starter and Buford typically sees significant playing time.

Claeys said the players had been practicing since the restraining orders had been placed on them, but he had no comment on the orders being lifted.

“We’re practicing and preparing, but I don’t have [a comment],” Claeys said. “We practiced both weeks just like we did normally, and whatever the courts say we would honor, but we did not allow it to adjust anything we did practice-wise any of the weeks.”

Mike Hendrickson contributed to this report.