Former Nebraska coach Bo Pelini has spent part of the last week defending his decision to add Ma’lik Richmond, a convicted rapist, to his Youngstown State football team.
But Thursday morning, the school announced Richmond will not be allowed to play in games during the 2017 season but can remain with the team as a practice player. He will lose a year of eligibility.
As a 16-year-old at Steubenville (Ohio) High School, Richmond and a football teammate were found delinquent of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl who was unconscious. Richmond was sentenced to a minimum of one year in a juvenile detention center.
He enrolled at Youngstown State as a student last fall, coming to the school without the intent to play football. Pelini, however, sought out Richmond to play for him.
Richmond joined the team in January, and recently, a Youngstown State student started a petition to have him removed from the team. Amid the backlash and calls to remove Richmond, Pelini defended his choice.
“I believe in him, but I told him, ‘I’ll hold your your feet to the fire,'” Pelini told The Vindicator. “He has to do it better and cleaner than the next guy.”
Pelini added: “The kid is humble and he wants to put it behind him.”
Pelini coached seven seasons at Nebraska (2008-14) and currently is in his third season at Youngstown State, an FCS program.
The president of Youngstown State is former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel.