Whether or not Minnesota plays in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 27 is the least important part of the standoff thats developing between the football players and the administration over whether 10 players have been fairly suspended around a case of alleged rape.If the school doesnt go to the bowl game, it stands to lose a big revenue opportunity and leaves players with lingering questions about due process. If the administration capitulates, it conveys in no uncertain terms that football is more important than a sexual assault investigation.Truthfully, football always has been more important.This particular case hinges on the idea of consent. According to police records, a woman told officers she was drunk when she was sexually assaulted in a players apartment by several men on Sept. 2, including some of the suspended players. She said her sexual contact with two men may have been consensual but that her contact with four of them was not. Other people were in the room while this happened, but prosecutors declined to take the case forward, citing lack of evidence.?The university started its own Title IX investigation at the same time as the polices investigation, a source told ESPN. According to a report by ESPNs Adam Rittenberg, the primary issue for the boycott was the school suspending the players before a hearing based on the Title IX investigation had been held. That hearing wouldnt have taken place until January, after the bowl game.Football players and parent Antoine Winfield are saying they arent sure why these players have been suspended in the middle of the football season. And to be sure, those players do have rights in the Minnesota investigation.Concern about those rights has resulted in one of the rare instances in which athletes have banded together and refused to play football because they believe in something more than wins and losses. The boycott, involving all the players of the team, represents exactly what you want to see in some ways -- a group bonded, calling each other brothers, loyal above all to each other. Thats admirable. And yet, as more than one person has pointed out on Twitter, it would be nice to see a team boycott to defend alleged victims of sexual assault.Earlier this year, a player at Baylor insinuated that the team would wear black in support of Art Briles, their former coach who reportedly knew about sexual assaults allegedly perpetrated by players and didnt report those incidents.Unity is a great trait in a football team. However, when it comes to sexual assault, the togetherness creates an us-against-them mentality that sends a clear message to those who might need to report a rape against a member of a team: We will fight back. With numbers.Unlike Baylors players, Minnesotas team may be putting into place a challenge to Title IX. A statement made by wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky was full of legalese, such as saying the school breeched fiduciary duty to the players by implementing the suspension. Now, Wolitarsky or some other player on the team could be legally minded, but its not news that opponents of Title IX have been looking for the test-case to unhook the law from cases of rape and sexual assault at universities, which it now protects. For the laws dissenters, Wolitarskys reference to an unjust Title IX investigation may be a crumb to build on.Despite Wolitarskys conjecture, theres a difference between the legal standard in a courtroom for conviction -- beyond a reasonable doubt -- and what is required for an institution to find a student violated the rights of another person. For survivors of rape and assault, the college setting can provide more support -- for example, making sure the accused and accusers dont end up in the same classes or dorms while an investigation is taking place. Thats something the legal system cant control. There are also actions that can be grounds for expulsion that arent grounds for criminal prosecution -- say, plagiarism of a term paper.Weve heard from the players and a parent, but we havent heard the voice of the other party in this case: the victim of the alleged crime. Without it, we can listen to players and hope they are treated fairly and with justice. We can hope the school is operating along the guidelines it has set to ensure the rights of the accused and the accuser. But we cannot think we have the entire story.Whether its college football, the NFL or beyond, if sports leagues are going to take sexual assault seriously, there may be times it conflicts with the game. And thats really OK. The most important lesson each of the parties in this case stands to learn will come off the field -- about consent, their rights and others rights and about choosing your causes carefully. 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