Richmond Eligible to Play, Statement Says

By Rachel Gobep

Ma’lik Richmond is eligible to play for Youngstown State University’s football team after YSU representatives and Richmond reached an agreement to settle the federal lawsuit filed by Richmond on Sept. 13.

According to a statement released by YSU on Monday, Richmond has agreed to go through additional Title IX training and will remain on the active roster.

Title IX is a federal law that calls for universities to provide the same opportunities to students and athletes, which prohibits all forms of discrimination based on sex.

“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,” the statement said.

Richmond joined the team as a walk-on this year, but when news reached the public, petitions circulated both in favor of his association with YSU football and against.

He was not permitted to play in the 2017 football season, according to a statement released by YSU on August 9.

As a result, he filed a federal lawsuit against YSU on Sept. 13, claiming he was denied his right to due process, which violates the 14th Amendment.

He also claimed there was a breach of contract and that the university discriminated against him due to his gender, which is a violation of Title IX.

Richmond was granted a temporary restraining order against YSU by U.S. District Court Judge Benita Pearson on Sept. 14, which allowed him to play for 14 days.

He entered his first game as a Penguin against Central Connecticut State on Sept. 16, but did not play on Saturday against South Dakota State.

Bo Pelini, YSU’s head football coach, said Richmond earned his spot on the team, but does not defend Richmond’s actions in the past, according to a report by WKBN.

Ron Cole, YSU’s public information officer, has been contacted but has not responded.

The lawyers of both parties have been contacted, but will not comment.