Gopher Football Updates


1/6/17 Update regarding hiring of new football coach

Today, the University hired a new football coach, P.J. Fleck. Read the University's full statement here.

1/3/17 Message regarding removal of Coach Tracy Claeys

Dear Member,

An important part of the Alumni Association’s mission is keeping you, our valued members, informed of major University news. In December, you received a message from us addressing the Gopher football player boycott. Tonight, I’m writing about a change in football coaching leadership. In a statement released this evening, Athletics Director Mark Coyle announced that Gophers head football coach Tracy Claeys has been relieved of his duties. Highlights of Coyle’s statement are below. To read the full statement, click here.

“I made a difficult decision today on behalf of the University of Minnesota. With the support of Board of Regents’ leadership and President Eric Kaler, I have decided to take the Gophers football team in a different direction with new coaching leadership.

I determined that the football program must move in a new direction to address challenges in recruiting, ticket sales and the culture of the program. We need strong leadership to take Gopher football to the next level and address these challenges.

This decision is about the future of Minnesota football. Moving forward, we need a leader who sets high expectations athletically, academically, and socially.”

Over the past few weeks, we have heard from many of you who shared your perspectives on the football program. Many members expressed a strong desire for the University to uphold its values while ensuring a fair process and accountability.

The Alumni Association expects all members of the University community to operate with the highest standards. We will advocate for upholding the University’s values in all areas of student, academic, and professional life, and will continue to share your thoughts and opinions with University leaders. Thank you for your membership, for it makes this work possible.


Lisa R. Lewis, Life Member

President and CEO

12/22/16 Message on Holiday Bowl

Dear Member,

Because you are a valued member of the Alumni Association, we want to provide information about recent events surrounding the Gopher football program which have stirred national media attention, strong reactions and some confusion.

On Tuesday, December 13, the University announced the indefinite suspension of ten football players from team activities. The football team declared a boycott of all football activities, including the Holiday Bowl, until the suspensions were lifted and they received what they believed was due process. University President Eric Kaler affirmed that the University would not change its values for the sake of playing in a bowl game. President Kaler and Athletics Director Mark Coyle met with members of the team on Friday, December 16. The student athletes announced an end to their boycott on Saturday morning.

These articles are among the many media stories covering the suspensions, the boycott and next steps:

Minnesota Daily

Pioneer Press


The UMAA has received questions about the University’s expectations and consequences of student behavior and the difference between the Student Conduct Code and the Student-Athlete Code of Conduct. As President Kaler noted in his December 16 statement: “It is important that they (student athletes) understand our commitment to the University’s values, and why any Athletics Department decision is different from any conduct code and is different from the decisions made in the criminal justice system.”

According to the Student-Athlete Code of Conduct, “participation on an intercollegiate team is a privilege and should be treated as such”. This code applies to all University of Minnesota-Twin Cities student athletes. The Athletics Department is responsible for enforcing the student athlete code and is the final decision maker on whether student athletes participate on a University of Minnesota team.

The Student Conduct Code, which was updated by the Board of Regents in June 2016, applies to all University of Minnesota students and student groups and is enforced by the Office for Student Conduct and Integrity. This process includes opportunities for hearings and appeals, as outlined in the code, and determines whether students are disciplined, suspended or expelled from the University.

The Alumni Association expects University leaders to hold all members of the University community to the highest standards and we take an unequivocal stand in supporting a safe and respectful campus. We also support a process for investigating violations of those standards that treats all parties involved fairly and with respect.

The Alumni Association has received a number of comments from alumni and we have shared those views with University leaders. We thank you for your support of the UMAA through your membership. We are committed to providing you information and insight on major news related to the University.

Warm Regards,

Lisa R. Lewis, Life Member

President and CEO

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