EXCLUSIVE: Kaler Says Claeys Supported Suspensions

January 10, 2017 10:19 PM

University of Minnesota president Eric Kaler says former head football coach Tracy Claeys supported the suspension of ten players last month. Claeys has disputed that since the suspensions were announced by the university.

WATCH: Part 1 of Kaler interview


WATCH: Part 2 of Kaler interview

"Let me be real precise in what I know about that," Kaler told 5 Eyewitness News in an interview Tuesday at the State Capitol. "Mark Coyle told me about the report, about the findings, he then talked to the coach. My understanding is the coach agreed with the suspensions and met with the players and Mark Coyle and informed them of the suspensions. So I believe he supported the decision."

RELATED: Documents Show Contradicting Accounts of What Led to Suspensions of 10 Gopher Football Players

Kaler also says Claeys had likely read the internal university report that eventually led to the suspensions. Claeys has said he didn't know all the details of the incident involving 10 players and female university student before he posted a tweet supporting the players.

"I don't want to get into a back and forth about what Tracy knew," Kaler says. "I know he was provided an opportunity to read the report. My understanding is he did read the report. But I did not see him read the report. I'm told he read the report."

Claeys did not return a message from KSTP left on his cell phone voicemail.

Kaler was at the Capitol Tuesday unveiling a request for a nearly 12 percent increase in funding over the next two years. He says none of the $147 million would go toward the buyouts for Claeys and his assistant coaches or the new $18.5 million contract for new coach P.J. Fleck. That money all comes from revenue generate by the athletics department through ticket revenue, donations and television contracts.

Kaler also says he's confident his own job is not in jeopardy with the U of M Board of Regents.

"I know I have the support of the great majority of the board and again I have a job that requires me to make tough decisions," Kaler said. "If a decision gets to me, it's not easy or somebody else would have made it. That comes with the territory."


Tom Hauser

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