Celebrations, anger at U of M following Tracy Claeys' termination

The U of M's decision to fire Tracy Claeys has created strong emotions on both sides.

No matter how you feel about the University of Minnesota's decision to fire football coach Tracy Claeys Tuesday, there is no denying the decision has torn the campus and beyond in two.

Wednesday, while supporters of victims of sexual assault rallied and celebrated the news, a well-respected former Gophers coach chastised the university and some players continued their defiance.

'Stands with Survivors' rally

According to the Star Tribune, the "U of M Stands with Survivors" rally drew about 75 people. Prior to Claeys' termination it was expected to draw several hundred.

"The decision to fire Coach Claeys is a step in the right direction and it's a step as students reclaiming our campus climate and reclaiming the dignity and respect of female students and all athletes," said rally organizer Trish Palermo to WCCO.

Claeys tweeted support for players during a short-lived boycott after 10 Gophers football players were suspended over their roles in the alleged sexual assault.

Prosecutors declined to file criminal charges against the players involved in the incident. But the university then conducted its own investigation. It led to a recommendation that five players be expelled from the U of M and four others be suspended for a year. Hearings on that recommendation are coming up later this month.

Claeys later said his tweet supporting the team was misinterpreted and he promised to make a $50,000 donation to raise awareness about sexual assault. But victims' supporters never really bought his explanation and turned in a petition with about 2,400 names calling for his firing.

Gophers players start to tell their story

On the other side of the issue, Gophers' football players have turned up the heat on the school over Claeys' firing.

Linebacker Carter Coughlin outlined some of the reasons players are upset on Twitter Wednesday.

Former Gophers coach Jerry Kill also had a strong reaction to Claeys' termination. He told 1500 ESPN that he won't be stepping foot in TCF Bank Stadium or on the university campus again.

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