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.”

Former WKU offensive lineman will finish career with “Brohmsquad”

Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Western Kentucky offensive lineman Dennis Edwards says he is going to finish his college football career with the same coach he started it with. In a message posted on Twitter, Edwards announced he will reunite with head coach Jeff Brohm, now at Purdue.

As a graduate transfer, Edwards will be eligible to play immediately this fall, which will be a nice boost to the depth at the offensive line position for Purdue. Unless he changes position, however, Edwards will likely be a backup center to provide depth. Kirk Barron returns to anchor the center of the line, one that loses just one starter from a year ago. But for a program that is still in the early stages of a rebuilding plan under Brohm, padded the depth on the offensive line can be instrumental in the sustained success for the program.

LSU officially welcomes Joe Burrow from Ohio State

Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images
3 Comments

Last week, quarterback Joe Burrow announced his commitment to LSU as he prepares to move on from Ohio State. Today, LSU made it officially official.

LSU has announced it has officially signed graduate transfer Burrow for the 2018 season, making the quarterback transfer eligible to play immediately this fall. Burrow will also have two years of eligibility with the Tigers, which could be a potential boost to the entire LSU offense in 2018 and potentially in 2019.

Burrow was a four-star recruit in Ohio State’s Class of 2015, but he could not get ahead of J.T. Barrett on the depth chart. He did, however, serve as Barrett’s backup in 2016 and would have carried the same responsibility in 2017 if not for a broken bone in his right hand.

At LSU, Burrow will jump head first into a quarterback competition with Myles Brennan, Justin McMillan and Lowell Narcisse. However, it is expected Burrow will soar to the top of the depth chart fairly quickly, and in time for LSU’s season opener in Arlington, Texas against Miami on Labor Day weekend. Nothing will be a given though, so Burrow needs to get to work right away and establish himself as the best option for Ed Orgeron and the Tigers.

Jim Harbaugh says Michigan is going on safari in South Africa next spring

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images
2 Comments

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has said he wants to make a spring trip for the football program an annual event. Staying true to his word, Harbaugh announced Michigan will be heading to South Africa next spring.

“We’re going to (South) Africa,” Harbaugh said in a radio interview with WTKA-AM in Ann Arbor, according to The Detroit Free Press. “We’re going to Johannesburg and Cape Town and we’re going to do a safari. How about that? How about a safari?”

This spring, Michigan visited Paris. Last year, the team took a trip to Rome. This all started becoming a thing after opposing football coaches in the south caused an uproar over Michigan packing up the program and heading to Clearwater for some spring football practices.

Each of the past two trips for Michigan have been covered by donations from some big-money donors to the program. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick and The Graham Group founder Don Graham split the bill for Michigan’s trip to Paris this spring. Kotick also took up the expenses for Michigan’s trip to Rome in 2017. It is unknown how Michigan is covering the pending expense of a trip to South Africa at this time, but if donors with deep pockets keep taking care of the charges, there is no reason not to take advantage of the travel opportunities.

In the meantime, Harbaugh has plenty of time to pick out a good safari hat to go with his finest pairs of khaki pants. Of course, he’ll probably stick to the blue Michigan cap to keep with his style abroad.

Clemson QB Hunter Johnson set to transfer; Purdue and Northwestern in the mix

Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images
1 Comment

Clemson quarterback Hunter Johnson is reportedly seeking to transfer to a new program, according to multiple reports Monday morning. The sophomore, a former five-star recruit in Clemson’s Class of 2017, is believed to have a desire to play for a couple of Big Ten schools.

Purdue and Northwestern have emerged as the top two potential destinations within the Big Ten, according to various reports. Johnson is an Indiana native and would figure to step right into a possible starting job with either the Boilermakers or Wildcats if he were to transfer to either Big Ten school. Of course, Johnson would have to wait until 2019 to begin playing for Purdue or Northwestern or any other FBS school due to NCAA transfer rules.

Despite Johnson’s talent and potential, it appears he got stuck in a tough spot on a Clemson roster that is overflowing with top-tier talent. With Kelly Bryant essentially cemented as Clemson’s starting quarterback, Johnson would have been waiting for his time to shine at the position, assuming he beat out the competition for the job. Clemson just added a five-star quarterback in the most recent recruiting class with Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence has already enrolled and played well in the Clemson spring game, offering a glimpse to the future of Clemson’s offense once Bryant moves on.

Johnson appeared in seven games as a freshman for the ACC champion Clemson Tigers last season, in which he completed 21 of 27 pass attempts for 234 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Zerrick Cooper, also a freshman last fall, appeared in three more games than Johnson as both backing up Bryant.

Purdue and Northwestern would both figure to be good landing spots for Johnson. Northwestern is preparing for one final year with Clayton Thorson at the helm, and Johnson could potentially slide right in once the 2019 season comes around after sitting out the year as a transfer. Purdue would also give Johnson a chance to shine in an offense coached by Jeff Brohm, which could rack up all kinds of attractive passing stats.

Johnson will have three years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2018 season. He also has a redshirt option to spare.