Leading Minnesota Golden Gophers receiver, A.J. Barker, left the team and accused his former coach of mistreatment.
Barker has missed the last 3 games due to an injury and is the team’s leading receiver with 30 receptions for 577 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Minnesota released the following statement regarding Barker’s claims:
“Coach Kill received an email from A.J. Barker today notifying the Coach that he has quit the team. Coach Kill tried reaching out to A.J. after receiving the email, but was unable to connect with him. We understand A.J.’s frustration with his injury, and we regret that he has chosen to leave the team on these terms. Our concern first and foremost is student athletes and we wish A.J. well.”
Barker talked to the Pioneer Press about leaving the team and his letter to Kill:
Barker told the Pioneer Press on Sunday his decision came after a heated discussion Kill had with him Thursday about not being healthy enough to play yet. Barker, who has 30 catches for 577 yards and seven touchdowns this season, missed the last 3-1/2 games after being sidelined in the first half of a 44-28 win over Purdue on Oct. 27.
“Both he and the trainer felt I should be healthy right now,” Barker said. “They felt that my injury at Purdue shouldn’t still have me injured. Coach Kill blew up on me that I should have been ready a week and a half ago. Coach Kill wants to win; there’s no doubt about it. I’m not trying to sabotage the team. For me and my future, I just felt it was best to move on now rather than wait two months.”
Barker joins Washington State Cougar receiver Marquess Wilson in accusing coaches of being too harsh.
You can read Barker’s full letter to coach Kill HERE.