Minnesota coach Brewster dismisses four from football team

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota coach Tim Brewster acted decisively
to address an increasingly ugly sexual assault scandal on
Wednesday, kicking four accomplished players off the team for their
alleged involvement in the rape of an 18-year-old woman.

Brewster dismissed standout cornerback Dominic Jones, who was
charged Monday with third-degree criminal sexual conduct, and three
teammates who have not yet been charged with a crime -- running back
E.J. Jones, defensive end Alex Daniels and defensive back Keith

The new coach, who has spent the first six months on a whirlwind
positivity campaign aimed at drumming up interest across the state
in a moribund program, said all four violated team and university
codes of conduct.

"It is an honor and a privilege to wear the uniform of the
University of Minnesota and we have exceedingly high expectations
for each of our student-athletes," Brewster said in a statement
issued by the university. "We spend a considerable amount of time
addressing our players regarding their personal conduct and we will
not compromise our values. We are establishing a culture of
integrity and we will demand that our players are held accountable
for their actions."

Dominic Jones, a junior and one of the team's best defensive
players, is accused of assaulting a woman who was "physically
helpless" after a night of binge drinking at a campus apartment in
early April.

Investigators estimated the woman's blood-alcohol content was
more than 0.30 percent when they say Daniels used his cell phone to
film Jones with the woman. Forensic scientists later recovered a
portion of the deleted video from the phone and say they have DNA
evidence linking Jones to the woman. Jones was released from jail
on $25,000 bail on Tuesday.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Daniels, E.J. Jones
and Massey had sex with the woman earlier in the night. Freeman has
not filed charges against those three but said they remain suspects
in the case.

Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi said he supported the

"I am in full support of the decision of coach Brewster and I
appreciate how he has handled this very difficult situation,"
Maturi said in the statement. "While this issue is deeply
disappointing, the Athletics Department is sending a clear and
unmistakable message that it will never compromise its code of

The school said the dismissals do not immediately affect the
four players' scholarship status or standing as students at the
university, but both are subject to review by the NCAA and the

Jeff DeGree, an attorney for E.J. Jones, said his client did not
blame Brewster for the move.

"When the county attorney chose to characterize these guys as
suspects, we were very disappointed," DeGree said. "That left
Coach Brewster with little alternative. E.J. is very, very
disappointed. He loves the University of Minnesota and he loves
playing football there."

DeGree said that Jones did nothing criminal that night and is at
best a witness to the events.

"They have had two to three months to review the case," DeGree
said. "They decided not to charge them at the time and I don't
know what at this point could change their minds."

Phone messages left with attorneys for the other players weren't
immediately returned.

The players were going to be counted on heavily this season by a
Gophers team already expected to struggle in Brewster's first

Despite being just 5-foot-8, Dominic Jones had started 20
straight games and emerged as a vocal leader on the defense. He
also led the Big Ten last season with a 23.0-yard average on kick

Daniels, who was teammates with Dominic Jones and Massey in high
school in Columbus, Ohio, was a highly touted recruit by Glen Mason
who was expected to be a key contributor on an improving defense.

E.J. Jones was the only true freshman on the Gophers' offense to
start a game last season and was expected to team with Amir Pinnix
and Jay Thomas in another loaded Minnesota backfield.

Massey, Dominic Jones' half brother, played in nine games as a
redshirt freshman last season.