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.
As a 16-year-old at Steubenville (Ohio) High School, Richmond and a fellow student/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 eventually 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 ahead of the 2017 season there was a petition to remove him from the team started by a Youngstown State student. Amid the backlash and calls to remove Richmond, Pelini has defended his choice and said he did “his own investigation.”
“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.”
Thursday morning, the school announced Richmond would not be allowed to play in games during the 2017 season, but could still be with the team as a practice player.
Pelini coached seven seasons at Nebraska (2008-2014) and currently is in his third season at Youngstown State, an FCS program.
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