Associated Press

Youngstown State, Ma’lik Richmond settle lawsuit, allowing convicted rapist to remain on roster

4 Comments

A situation that didn’t sit well with a sizable portion of college football fans will likely continue in that same general direction after this latest development.

It was confirmed Monday that the lawyers for Ma’lik Richmond and Youngstown State have filed motions to dismiss a lawsuit filed on the former’s behalf.  As part of the settlement, Richmond will be allowed to continue playing football for the Penguins.

The case was dismissed with prejudice, the Youngstown Vindicator reported, meaning Richmond will not be permitted to bring the same complaint before any court moving forward.

Also as part of the settlement, “Richmond agreed to undergo additional training with respect to issues involving Title IX,” a statement from the university read, in part.

“This has been a complex situation and will continue to be of interest to our campus community,” the statement continued. “As we move forward, we are prepared to continue to engage the campus in a review of our policies at it relates to these types of situations, including policies on student participation in athletics and other high-profile university activities. While the settlement agreement may cause concern for some, we believe it is in the best overall interest of the university, students and the community.”

Word surfaced in early August of this year that an online petition was seeking the removal of Richmond from the Youngstown State football roster. In 2013, Richmond was one of two football players from Steubenville High School in Ohio to be convicted of raping a 16-year-old high school girl, and served nearly a year for his crime.

Giving the firestorm of criticism that erupted after it was learned he was on the Penguins’ roster, the university very shortly thereafter announced that Richmond would not be permitted to play in games for the team in 2017 even as he would be permitted to continue practicing with the team.  Richmond subsequently quit the team after the university’s decision.

In mid-September, Richmond sued Youngstown State in federal court in an attempt to get himself immediately reinstated to the football team.   That same day, U.S. District Court Judge Benita Y. Pearson granted Richmond a temporary restraining order that forbids YSU from preventing Richmond from participating in football games until a Sept. 28 hearing; an appeal by the university was denied.

Richmond claimed in the lawsuit that he had the support of YSU head coach Bo Pelini and the university’s president, former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel.  In the suit that triggered the temporary order, the plaintiffs argued that Richmond did not violate the student code of ethics as had been contended; has been denied the right to due process in violation of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution; and that the university violated Title IX laws by discriminating against Richmond on the basis of his sex.

Shortly after that order was upheld, the walk-on defensive end was inserted in the third quarter of YSU’s win over Central Connecticut State Sept. 16 and played the remainder of the contest, finishing with a pair of tackles.

You’re happy for the kid. It isn’t about me,” Pelini was quoted as saying after that initial appearance.  Richmond hasn’t appeared in a game since.

What is most important is that Ma’lik moves on,” one of Richmond’s attorneys, Susan Stone, said after the settlement. “This was never a case about money. This is a case about Ma’lik being given all the opportunities afforded a student of good standing.”

A&M the landing spot for UCF RB Cordarrian Richardson

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The strange journey of Cordarrian Richardson has taken yet another twist.

The running back confirmed to the Memphis Commercial-Appeal late this past week that he has decided to leave UCF and transfer to Texas A&M.  The true freshman will have to sit out the 2018 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, but will have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2019.

Last season, Richardson ran for 161 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 47 carries for the unbeaten Knights.

On National Signing Day in 2017, Richardson announced via a weather balloon in outer space that he would be signing with Maryland.  A day later, however, Richardson faxed in a signed NLI… to a school that wasn’t even in his final four — UCF.  Maryland, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Ole Miss, were the top four teams that appeared in his original “commitment” video.

Richardson was also heavily recruited by Florida State, which at the time was coached by new A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher.

A four-star 2017 signee, Richardson was rated as the No. 9 back in the country; the No. 8 player at any position in the state of Tennessee; and the No. 157 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  He was far and away the highest-rated signee in the Knights’ class that year.

Arkansas kicker Cole Hedlund reportedly transfers to North Texas

Getty Images
Leave a comment

And you can pardon the whole of the state of Arkansas if they let out a collective “thank goodness.”

Citing multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, Brett Vito of the Denton Record-Chronicle is reporting that Cole Hedlund is transferring to North Texas.  After redshirting as a true freshman in 2014 at Arkansas, Hedlund spent the next three seasons as a placekicker for the Razorbacks.

The Argyle, Tex., native opted to transfer from UA for his final season of eligibility.  He’s the youngest son of UNT women’s soccer coach John Hedlund.

For his career with the Razorbacks, Hedlund hit on 14 of his 24 field goal attempts.  He also connected on all 91 extra point attempts.  His best season came in 2015 when he led the team in scoring with 85 points.

The past season, however, was a rough one.  After missing both field goal attempts in a Sept. 9 loss to TCU — the misses came from 20 and 23 yards out — Hedlund never attempted another kick for the Razorbacks the rest of the season.

“It was basically a PAT, and it was a perfect protection and a perfect snap. It’s inexcusable,” then-head coach Bret Bielema said at the time.

Longtime BYU defensive assistant Steve Kaufusi steps down

Getty Images
Leave a comment

A constant on BYU’s defensive staff for nearly two decades has taken himself out of the football program’s equation.

The Cougars announced Friday that Steve Kaufusi has stepped down from his post as linebackers coach.  Per the school, Kaufusi’s departure was triggered by his desire to pursue other unspecified interests.

Kaufusi, whose wife Michelle is the mayor of Provo and has two sons who will play for the Cougars this season, had spent the past 16 seasons with BYU.  From 2002-16, he coached the defensive line; he took over linebackers in 2017 and spent one season overseeing that position.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to coach at BYU for the past 16 seasons,” Kaufusi said. “I’m honored to have had the opportunity to represent the University and everything it stands for. I will always be a Cougar and look forward to watching my sons play at BYU.”

“Anyone who knows Steve knows he is an exceptional coach and mentor to young men, which you can see in the players he has coached over the years and also in his own family,” head coach Kalani Sitake said. “I wish Steve nothing but the best for his future.”

In tandem with the Kaufusi announcement, the program also confirmed that Preston Hadley has been hired.  Hadley, who played defensive back for the Cougars and coached at Weber State the past two seasons, will coach safeties in his return.

Ed Lamb, who was responsible for safeties, will take over Kaufusi’s linebackers.  All other coaches on the defensive side of the ball will maintain their current positions.

Michigan State promotes Mike Tressel to DC, adds ex-Kent State HC as DBs coach

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Mark Dantonio looked inside and out of his football program to fill some holes in his Michigan State staff.

Nearly two weeks ago, Harlon Barnett left as MSU’s co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach to take a job at Florida State.  That left Dantonio with two openings, one of which the head coach closed Friday by promoting Mike Tressel to defensive coordinator.

Tressel and Barnett had served as co-coordinators the past three seasons; the nephew of former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel will now serve as the Spartans’ solo coordinator moving forward.

“Mike has done a tremendous job working with the defense,” said Dantonio in a statement. “He’s been deeply involved with everything with the defense since we first arrived here, and has helped coach some championship defenses that have been ranked consistently among the best in the nation, year in and year out. He did a great job as co-coordinator the past three years. He’s certainly earned this opportunity and I think he’ll do an outstanding job.”

To replace Barnett as defensive backs coach, Dantonio turned to Paul Haynes.  The past five years, Haynes was the head coach at Kent State before being dismissed at the end of the 2017 regular season.

This serves as a homecoming of sorts for Haynes as well.  From 2003-04, he was the defensive backs coach for the Spartans under John Smith.

The 48-year-old Haynes has also been a secondary coach at Arkansas (2012), Ohio State (2005-10), Louisville (2002) and Kent State (1999).

“We’re very, very excited about Paul,” said Dantonio. “He’s coached here before so he’s got a Spartan background. He was secondary coach and co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State, so he’s coached on the highest level with the secondary. He was a defensive coordinator at Arkansas as well. He’s been a head coach at Kent State, so I think that gives him a big picture feel. I think he’s an excellent recruiter. He’s a dynamic person as well, so we’re excited to have him on campus.”