US & Canada

Minnesota football team ends boycott over sexual assault case

University of Minnesota wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky (centre), reads a statement on behalf of the players in the Nagurski Football Complex in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 15 December 2016 Image copyright AP
Image caption Drew Wolitarsky of Minnesota's university football team said the assault case "is larger than just us"

Minnesota's university football team have reversed a pledge to boycott games over the suspension of 10 players over an alleged sexual assault.

The team had threatened not to play until the school authorities gave "satisfactory answers".

The university earlier suspended the 10 players without providing any reasons, following an internal inquiry.

Police have declined to arrest or charge any of them over claims a woman was assaulted in September.

The football team made the U-turn on Saturday after they were assured that their suspended team-mates would receive a fair hearing.

The announcement followed a meeting between team members and university President Eric Kaler.

"As a team we understand that what has occurred these last few days... is larger than just us,'' said University of Minnesota receiver Drew Wolitarsky.

The Minnesota team will now play Washington State in the Holiday Bowl on 27 December.

Mr Kaler said he was pleased the students had shown their support for the victims of sexual violence by ending their boycott.

The suspensions stem from an incident on 2 September. A woman told police she was assaulted by several men while drunk at an off-campus apartment.

Some of the players have admitted having sex with the woman, but said that it was consensual.

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