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5 Gophers Football Players Sitting Out Due to Court Order

A head coach always has a tough time dealing with players who are under suspicion for alleged criminal conduct. Minnesota head coach Tracy Claeys had that though choice after four players were named in a criminal complaint alleging sexual assault earlier this season.

He chose to suspend those players (KiAnte Hardin, Ray Buford, Dior Johnson and Tamarion Johnson) for the Indiana State game on Sept. 10 and for both the Colorado State and Penn State games following those allegations.

Ultimately, charges were never brought in the case and the players were reinstated for the next game.

It was a case involving a member of the Gophers game day operations however, and now those four players plus running back Carlton Djam are going to be sitting out this game against Rutgers

All because of a restraining order that was put in place by the person who made the initial allegations.

It’s a strange case to begin with, as the players were completely cleared in the criminal investigation, yet are still being barred from playing as part of the restraining order issued by a judge in Minnesota.

The players have little choice in the matter right now, and the University has its hands tied having to comply with the court order as it exists.

“It would not be appropriate for the University to comment on this matter to the extent it relates to University students,” university spokesman Evan Lapinska said in a statement. “The University reaffirms, however, that it will honor and comply with court orders.”

The players will go to court on Tuesday trying to amend the court order to allow them to play for the Gophers going forward.

All of them dispute the allegations the woman had brought forth, and now believe these moves are being done as a vindictive move by a person who didn’t get what she wanted out of the police investigation.

“It’s clear she didn’t get the results in the first investigation and now she’s continuing to interrupt these guys’ lives,” Ray Buford, the father of the younger Ray Buford, said of the woman who filed the restraining order.

Lee Hutton, the player’s attorney, noted the timing of the filing of these restraining orders was curious too.

“This was a calculated move to do it before the game,” Hutton said.

 

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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