Suspended Minnesota players get their turn in hearings

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The 10 Minnesota football players suspended after an alleged sexual assault last fall presented their case Friday in the final day of hearings in front of a panel of university members.

The university presented its side of the case on Thursday during a session that lasted more than nine hours. Many of the players were expected to testify on Friday as they try to avoid the expulsions and other punishments recommended by the school's Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action office.

The proceedings are closed to the public.

The players have denied any wrongdoing and remain enrolled at Minnesota. The hearing stems from an incident in September, when a woman alleged that she was pressured into having sex with multiple players at an apartment after the team's season-opening win.

Minneapolis authorities twice declined to charge any of the players, citing a lack of evidence. But the school conducted a Title IX investigation that concluded that the players violated the student conduct code and recommended expulsion for Ray Buford Jr., Carlton Djam, KiAnte Hardin, Dior Johnson and Tamarion Johnson; one-year suspensions for Seth Green, Kobe McCrary, Mark Williams and Antoine Winfield Jr.; and probation for Antonio Shenault.

The three-person panel will have one week to come to a decision, which can be appealed to the university provost and then, if need be, in federal court. The guidelines require that a majority of the panel decide it was ''more than likely'' that the accused violated the conduct code. That is far different from a court of law requiring a unanimous ruling from a jury that a crime was committed beyond a reasonable doubt.

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More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

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