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Appeals hearing for suspended Gophers starts Thursday

The next two days will be pretty important for 10 suspended Gophers football players.

The future of 10 members of the Minnesota Gophers football team will be argued over two closed-door appeals hearings at the University of Minnesota over the next two days.

According to multiple media accounts, the players and their lawyers will have from 2-to-11 p.m. Thursday and from 1-to-10 p.m. Friday to argue their appeal before a student subcommittee.

All 10 of the players have been suspended from the football team. Some are facing recommended expulsions or suspensions from school, others recommended probation following the school's Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) investigation of the alleged sexual assault that took place at a Dinkytown apartment in September.

The players were never criminally charged and have denied assaulting the woman – saying the sex was consensual. The incident was detailed in an 80-page report that was leaked to the media shortly after news of the suspensions was released.

The suspensions rocked the football program, led to a short player boycott before Minnesota's Holiday Bowl game and likely played a big role in former coach Tracy Claeys' termination.

Lawyers Lee Hutton and Ryan Pacyga have questioned if the players can get a fair hearing at the university. According to FOX9, the attorneys were hoping to have each case handled separately, but instead all 10 will be handled together.

That will make this challenging because they will be making vastly different arguments for each of the players.

"There's no due process at all considering what's on the line," Pacyga told the Star Tribune.

No matter what happens in the appeals hearing over the next couple of days, it would be surprising if this is the last hearing on the matter.

Attorneys told the newspaper they are willing to take the case all the way to the federal courts if necessary.

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