Lawsuit involving former Jackson High athlete thrown out


Former University of Minnesota football player Mark Williams (Courtesy: Minnesota Daily)

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn (WKRG) — A federal judge Tuesday dismissed all claims in a lawsuit accusing the University of Minnesota of discriminating against 10 football players, including former Jackson (AL) High School star quarterback Mark Williams.

The players, all African-American, accused the school, its president, and Title IX coordinator of discriminating against them on the basis of race and sex, following a 2016 sexual assault. A woman claimed she was gang raped by members of the Minnesota football team in September, 2016.
The University ultimately expelled four players for participating in the alleged attack, and suspended six more teammates, including Williams, thought to have been in the apartment during the assault. Williams appealed his suspension and was cleared of wrong doing, but left the school after the 2017 football season.  

Williams redshirted in 2016. As a wide receiver in 2017, Williams caught two passes for 43 yards in nine games.

The players’ lawsuit argued white athletics department employees accused of sexual misconduct received lighter punishments, and university leaders were eager to punish the players to make a statement about the school’s intolerance for sexual misconduct. U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank, however, rejected the players’ arguments and granted the university’s motion for summary judgment.

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