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Gophers AD to meet with Claeys about future of Gophers football

Gophers AD to meet with Tracy Claeys about future of the football program.

The University of Minnesota hasn't made a decision on the future of Gophers football coach Tracy Claeys just yet.

Just one day following Minnesota's 17-12 victory over Washington State in the Holiday Bowl, Gophers athletic director Mark Coyle issued his first statement on Claeys' job status since Claeys went on the record to support a players boycott last week.

Here is what Coyle had to say in his statement.

"Now that our football team has completed its season following an exciting win in Tuesday night's Holiday Bowl, Coach Claeys and I will take this opportunity to reflect on this past season before sitting down together to talk about the future and my expectations for our football program."

One month ago – before the suspension of 10 Gophers football players for their alleged involvement in a sexual assault, and the team's threat of a boycott – Coyle stated that Claeys is Minnesota's football coach, and that a contract extension for Claeys and the staff would in the works after the season.

Claeys under fire

The Gophers are coming off their first nine-win season since 2003 when Minnesota finished 10-3 under then head coach Glen Mason. However, it's not the team's on-field performance that has Claeys under fire.

An online petition – which calls for Claeys to be fired due to a "failure of leadership and lack of sound judgement" when he said he supported the players boycott – has gotten more than 2,600 signatures. And according to KSTP, a copy of that petition has been delivered to President Eric Kaler's office.

Claeys perhaps foresaw his own demise, last week he said he knew his support of the players' boycott could cost him his job.

Kill stands up for Claeys

Even with all of the distractions, Claeys was able to rally his team together for the Holiday Bowl victory Tuesday night.

While he does have his enemies for how he handled the situation, Claeys also has his supporters – one of them is former Gophers football coach Jerry Kill, who made quite the strong statement of support of his longtime former assistant, telling the Star Tribune Wednesday:

"That's probably one of the greatest coaching jobs of all-time. With all of that stuff going on, and all the things those kids have gone through – from their old coach to the new coach to all the stuff they had to handle – that's a flat unbelievable job those guys did."

What does it all mean?

While Coyle's statement isn't a signal the university may look to make a coaching change, in the wake of the brief players boycott, it's quite a bit different than his previous remarks.

So stay tuned, we'll keep you updated.

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