The battle between Ma’Lik Richmond and Bo Pelini’s Youngstown State came to a momentary resolution after the player convicted of a 2013 rape sued his way onto the field.
Earlier in the season, YSU allowed Richmond to remain on the team, but refused to play him due to backlash from his past. Richmond in turn sued the school and an Ohio district judge said he should be allowed to play while the lawsuit in pending, per WKBN.
Pelini put Richmond in in the third quarter, where he registered two tackles, one for a loss.
Richmond was brought on as a walk-on in January. He served 10 months in juvenile lockup after he was convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl in 2012 along with another high school student.
Pelini defended his team’s decision to bring on Richmond, according to wfmj.com, which brought this whole situation back into the news in early August.
“I gave him some stipulations and some things he had to be able to do and if he lived up to them he’d be able to come out and see if he could be a member of our football team. He did those things and continues to do those things right now and he’s done a nice job for us,” said Pelini.
WKBN27 passed on a lengthy statement from the university, after the decision was made to keep him on the team, but not play him:
“Youngstown State University takes the matter of sexual assault very seriously and continues to educate everyone within the campus community about the impact and prevention of sexual assault.
The University is fully aware of the gravity of the situation and of petitions that are circulating on social media in protest and support of one of our students, Ma’lik Richmond. We value the input of the entire YSU community and are committed to providing a safe learning environment and growth opportunities for all students, faculty and staff.
Ma’lik Richmond transferred to Youngstown State University in good standing from his prior institution for Fall 2016. After matriculating at YSU, he expressed a desire to try out for the football program. Ma’lik was advised by the coaching staff that if he integrated himself within the campus community academically and socially and completed the fall semester in good standing, further discussions could occur.
In January, Ma’lik again inquired about trying out for the team. At this time, he was permitted to participate on a tryout basis with the team, for winter workouts. At the conclusion of winter workouts, he was permitted to practice with the team as a walk-on from February to April. Ma’lik Richmond earned a spot on the 105-man roster on August 2 as a walk-on and is not receiving an athletic scholarship. He continues to be in good standing on the YSU campus.
YSU does not restrict any student’s ability to take part in extracurricular activities as long as they are in good standing with the institution. YSU believes that extracurricular activities assist in a student’s ability to succeed.
For the Fall 2017 football season, Ma’lik will not be permitted to compete in any games, but will continue to be a part of the football program as a practice player, forfeiting a year of eligibility. He will be given the opportunity to benefit from group participation, the lessons of hard work and discipline, as well as the camaraderie and guidance of the staff and teammates. He will also continue to work with the University’s director of student outreach and support who assists young men and women in becoming successful students and YSU graduates.
As a state university, YSU is fully committed to complying with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 which prohibits gender discrimination in education programs and activities, including sexual assault. The University has increased its efforts in the past years to inform, educate and prevent sexual assault and to provide services to victims of sexual assault. YSU is committed to eradicating sexual assault and educating our students beyond the classroom in order to be productive members of society.”
Upon his release from juvenile lockup, he returned to Steubenville High School to play his senior season of football.