U of M athletics director defends dumping North Carolina from Gophers football slate

In an attempt to secure more non-conference football victories, the University of Minnesota is paying $800,000 to get out of playing two scheduled games against North Carolina.

Several changes are in store for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers football schedule in 2013 and beyond.

According to a University news release, the Gophers have dropped North Carolina from its schedule. The two teams had scheduled a home-and-home series for 2013 (at UNC) and 2014 (at Minnesota). The university will also open their football seasons on the Thursday before Labor Day the next four years.

In a morning news conference, U of M athletics director Norwood Teague told reportersthat dropping North Carolina was "something Coach Kill talked to me about in April." Teague defended the move, saying he "has a tremendous respect for Kill" ... because ... "he's won everywhere he's gone."

Reaction to the moves is getting mixed response. The Daily Gopher blog on SBNation favors the Thursday night starts, but isn't too thrilled with the cupcake opponents.

 Star Tribune columnist Chip Scoggins points out that dumping the North Carolina games will cost $800,000, which he says is comical if it weren't so pathetic.

In his words: "We're not talking about canceling a game against Alabama. Or Southern California. Or even South Carolina."

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