The last days of the Tracy Claeys era?

It’s fair to say that Pioneer Press columnist Joe Soucheray is hardly liberal.

So when he wrote today about the scandal at the University of Minnesota football program, it’s going to be harder for the few still on the “what’s the big deal?” bandwagon to hold on.

Put Soucheray squarely on the side of the university’s efforts to rid itself of the stench of sexual abuse.

Because this wasn’t an episode of conduct. No player involved appears to have risen to the moral or ethical clarity required of any man whose instinctive character would have compelled him to say, “Wait a minute. Stop. This isn’t right. This has gotten out of hand. Everybody clear this building.’’

Any man of character — we call football players men — would have not only cleared the building but would have helped the woman, taken her to the hospital, for example. Actually, if there were men of character around that night the bacchanal would never have happened and the woman would not have required a hospital visit.

There was no respect for anybody in that apartment. There does not appear to be any awareness of physical or mental health at stake. There does not appear to be any awareness of safety.

Not only should (Head football coach Tracy) Claeys have short-stopped the boycott, but after reading the entire code to his players he should have distributed a copy to the players assembled.

Instead Claeys made this tweet.

Claeys has only tweeted once since then, congratulating the U of M’s volleyball team.

Here’s the thing that makes Claeys further employment at the U problematic, David Haugh, of the Chicago Tribune, notes.

“Claeys had three months to learn everything alleged about the incident when he tweeted,” he writes.

  • Greg W

    A true Christmas miracle. I find myself agreeing with Soucheray. Not that it shouldn’t happen from time to time. Just shocking whenever it does.

    • Rob

      Yup. His “nanny state” schtick is way tiresome, but when I read his column today, I was gobsmacked to see that he’d reached a conclusion on which I totally concurred.

  • I hear Glen Mason is still available…

  • Mike Worcester

    //“Claeys had three months to learn everything alleged about the incident when he tweeted,” he writes.

    Is it possible that the coach was also told he could not see any of the documents due to FRPA restrictions? That this affected his judgment in the matter?

    (And before anyone accuses me of being insensitive, I’m not supporting or denigrating any actions he took, I’m just asking the question.)

    • Claeys didn’t read the report until after the boycott started but the AD had briefed him on what was in it. In fact, the original suspension of the players was attributed to Claeys.

      But he said he had a “parental responsibility” to stand up for his players, which is mind-blowing on its own.

      • Mike Worcester

        Ty for that clarification.

      • KariBemidji

        “Parental Responsibility” – what a bunch of bs. As a parent, I was sick hearing about the report. As a parent, I was incensed after the reading the report. Parental Responsibility would’ve been to say – ‘Nope. We as a team do not deserve to go to the Holiday Bowl.’

      • Anna

        It’s bad enough when K-12 teachers have to “parent” their students which is happening with alarming regularity now.

        Parents out there, are you listening?

        I agree with KariBemidji. What a bunch of bs!

        The poor little snowflakes.

      • Rob

        Did he not read the report before the boycott because he didn’t have access to it, or did he choose not to read it at that time?

        • I don’t think he had access to it, from the sound of what Tom Powers said.

          But he clearly had enough to say, as Soucheray said, “Fellas, we’ve got 10 guys, a woman who says she didn’t want to have sex with them, a restraining order and this here rulebook. You may want to take a knee here or you’re all gonna look stupid.”

          Instead, he said, “I’m with stupid.”

      • “Parental responsibility” as in “my son wouldn’t do that kind of thing”? :/

  • MikeB

    The last days of Tracy Claeys? We can only hope. He failed in his mission to provide leadership.

  • KTFoley

    Up to now I couldn’t tell Joe Soucheray from Pat Reusse. The difference between JS’s column today and PR’s column on Sunday has solved the dilemma.

  • Rob

    Claes brings cluelessness and tone-deafness to staggering new levels. The only question now is how much foot-dragging the U will do before sh&!-canning him.

  • Gary F

    “Claeys had three months to learn everything alleged about the incident when he tweeted,” he writes.

    Yep, that says it all.

  • crystals

    Deadspin just released a VERY detailed story by Diana Moskovitz about the two investigations (Henn. Co. & the U). It’s full of details I never wanted to know but I hope will bring about some form of justice.

    • Anna

      I think castration and amputation would be too good for these guys.

      They make the stereotype of violent black men look tame.

      Is it any wonder the woman dropped her restraining order?. She would never live it down.

      If these a-holes are allowed to stay at the university, and that is a mighty big “IF” they should be under a 9 p.m. curfew 7 days a week and restricted to campus.

      In fact, they are nothing more than highly paid, sexual predators.

      Do the right thing, U of M. Teach these perps how the real world works.

  • Dan

    If I were a betting man I’d bet he’ll be gone. Once the lurid details about the incident emerged, irrespective the outcome of the police or Title IX investigations, or the boycott, or Claey’s response, there’s a big PR problem. The easiest fix, of course, is to find someone, put their head on a platter, present it to the public and say “here, I have found the problem, and solved it.”

  • Gary F

    Dear Gary,

    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 Athletic 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 Athletic 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

    • Barton

      As a Baylor University Alumni Association member, I have to admit that I am very glad to have seen that the UMAA make a statement. Nothing was sent from the BUAA during the Title IX issues there (which do slightly pale compared to here, but actually seemed to get more airtime, due to – at that time – a more successful football program, I suspect). According to some friends in the Baylor administration, they figure they lost 10% of their endowment money as a result, a low number, but football is religion in Texas. One wonders how the U’s endowments will fair as this continues. I certainly wrote Baylor to let them know they were no longer in my estate planning (such as it is) as a result of the underhanded recruitment dealings and ignoring of sexual misconduct/violence.

  • Robert

    Another big issue that isn’t talked about enough is that a recruit was involved in this. Coyle, the new athletic director, was brought in to run a clean ship after the Norwood Teague debacle; it is time for Claeys to walk the plank.

  • Sergio Robert Andrade Jr.

    Good riddance, this incident made the monthly call I get from UMN-TC a lot more awkward than usual.

  • annonymous

    tracy claeys has made the University of Minnesota the poster child of how not to run a football program. His behavior, lack of control of his team, will be used at NCAA training sessions for decades to come. He has earned a well deserved spot in infamy of poor coaching handling of dreadful team behavior. This is what University gets for hiring coach on the cheap.