MINNEAPOLIS – Three University of Minnesota football players were in police custody, undergoing questioning after allegations of criminal sexual conduct, the university said in a statement.
Coach Tim Brewster immediately suspended the players Friday until the investigation is complete. The allegations come on the eve of the team's spring intrasquad game.
The players were identified by the university as Alex Daniels, listed as a 6-foot-3, 255-pound defensive end who came to the Gophers as a highly touted linebacker from Columbus, Ohio; Keith Massey, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound cornerback from Columbus; and E.J. Jones, a 5-foot-9, 185-pound running back from Edwardsville, Ill.
Daniels and Massey are 20 years old. Jones is 19. A university spokesman said all three are sophomores, but Daniels is listed on the roster as a junior. It appeared they had not been charged with any crime as of Friday night, but they remained in police custody.
According to a police report, an 18-year-old woman was raped sometime between late Tuesday and Wednesday morning. The victim, whose name is not being released, was examined at a local hospital.
University Police Chief Greg Hestness said in a statement that his department learned of the allegation early Friday, and the players were being questioned that evening. Once the investigation is complete, he said, the case will be submitted to the Hennepin County attorney for possible charges.
"Obviously, this is disappointing news for any coach to receive," said Brewster. "There is an ongoing investigation and we will cooperate fully with law enforcement on this matter."
This is Brewster's first season as Gophers head coach. He replaced Glen Mason, who was fired after 10 seasons with Minnesota.
Brewster spent the last two seasons as the tight ends coach with the Denver Broncos, and also served as an assistant with the San Diego Chargers and in college under Mack Brown at Texas and North Carolina.
The Gophers spring game is at noon Saturday at the Metrodome.