Missouri system president Tim Wolfe announced his resignation Monday, potentially opening the door for Missouri’s striking football players to return to practice.
“The motivation in making this decision comes from love,” Wolfe said. “I love MU, Columbia where I grew up, the state of Missouri.”
“This is not — I repeat not — the way change should come about,” he continued. “Change comes from listening, learning, caring and conversation. We have to respect each other enough to stop yelling at each other and start listening and quit intimidating each other. Unfortunately, this has not happened, and that is why I stand before you today, and I take full responsibility for this frustration. And I take full responsibility for the inaction that has occurred.”
Many of Mizzou’s black players announced they would no longer participate in football activities Saturday night, showing solidarity with Missouri graduate student Jonathan Butler, who had undertaken a hunger strike that he vowed would not conclude until Wolfe resigned or was removed from his post. Part of a series of protests by black student groups upset with recent racially motivated incidents on campus and Missouri’s administrative response, Butler’s hunger strike lasted seven days.
Both Missouri coach Gary Pinkel and athletic director Mack Rhoades issued statements of support for the boycotting players. Pinkel also shared a photo of the entire Tigers team — black and white — locking arms in solidarity. He said the team as a whole would not practice until the 32 black players who began the boycott were prepared to resume.
“Use my resignation to heal and start talking again, to make the changes necessary,” Wolfe said Monday. “And let’s focus on changing what we can change today and in the future, not what we can’t change because of what happened in the past.”