YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Youngstown State University has released a statement on the online petition drive to remove a player who was convicted of rape from the football team.
More than seven-thousand people have now signed a petition demanding that Youngstown State University remove a football player from the team because of a high-profile rape conviction.
Ma'lik Richmond and another high school football player from Steubenville were convicted in 2013 for raping and then photographing a 16-year-old girl while she was unconscious.
The trial and the sensationalism around it made national headlines.
Wednesday, the school released a statement on its Facebook page, explaining that after completing a successful fall semester, Richmond was allowed to participate with the team on a tryout basis. He subsequently earned a spot on the roster, but is not receiving an athletic scholarship.
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.
The University goes on to say that for the fall 2017 football season, Richmond will not be allowed to compete in any games, but will continue to be a part of the football team, 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.
Here is the full statement: