Nine former and current University of Minnesota players who were investigated for sexual misconduct are suing the university for discrimination.
Minnesota Public Radio reports the lawsuit was filed in federal court on Friday, June 8, and the players are accusing the school of "intentional, willful and malicious" behavior solely based on the players’ race and gender.
The nine unnamed black men bringing the suit were accused of gang raping a white female student in 2016.
No criminal charges were filed, but five of the players were suspended or expelled. The group’s lawyer, Dave Madgett, says the group was profoundly affected by the investigation.
"Having their names linked to that report and the various press stories, it's caused irreparable harm to the plaintiffs in the matter," he said to WCCO. "They've lost scholarship opportunities, their potential careers in professional sports. The list of losses is extensive."
Madgett says the school scapegoated the men to “deflect criticism the U was facing for having previously turned a blind eye to charges of sexual harassment by white men.”
“I think we sometimes like to pretend it’s not there, but every single one of these players that was accused is black,” Madgett continued.
The University of Minnesota released a statement acknowledging the lawsuit.
"The University thoughtfully and thoroughly responds when faced with disturbing allegations, and provides extensive process to students accused of misconduct, including the opportunity to be heard during thorough investigations, panel hearings, and Provost review,” the statement reads. “Further, aggrieved students have a right to review by the Minnesota Court of Appeals."
The lawsuit demands the expelled students be reinstated and that records related to the investigation be expunged. The suit did not list any monetary demands.