I might as well dive right in: the president and athletic director at the University of Minnesota did the right thing by blowing out a football coach who didn’t seem to get the magnitude of supporting his team while 10 of his players were linked to a sexual assault.
Tracy Claeys’ heart might have been in the right place when he indicated he supported the players’ call to boycott the team’s participating in the Holiday Bowl, but in doing so he demonstrated — whether intended or not — that he couldn’t care less about a woman who had been sexually assaulted roughly four months prior.
Adios, Tracy. Hello, P. J. Fleck.
Fleck has to mend some fences; the anger that some Gophers players and fans feel about the administration’s handling of the investigation and the treatment of the 10 players is palpable. (For what my two cents are worth: The players directly involved should be shown the door, and they should feel fortunate that they won’t face any legal charges.)
Winning will be an elixir to those hurt feelings; and the early signs are that Fleck is going to bring in a talented group of players.
And with the addition of the six new players, an otherwise forgettable group at Minnesota is starting to look like, well, an actual Big Ten recruiting class. According to the Pioneer-Press, the Golden Gophers class that was 79th coming into Friday (well behind Western Michigan’s) is up to 49th nationally with the additions of the six players.
Fleck will be judged on his wins and losses. His boss and the university president will not be judged by the same criterion. But as far as I’m concerned those two men have passed this test.