North Dakota State coach Craig Bohl suspended starting halfback Sam Ojuri for Saturday’s game against Youngstown State for his role in the election fraud scandal that snared 10 Bison football players.
Ojuri, the team’s second-leading rusher with 229 yards and three TDs, had prior convictions for possession of a controlled substance and a minor alcohol violation.
The 10 players pleaded guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor election fraud and were sentenced to community service for faking signatures on ballot measure petitions they were hired to collect.
Other players on the nation’s top-ranked FCS team who pleaded guilty Tuesday were starters Joshua Colville (a redshirt freshman left guard) and Marcus Williams (a junior cornerback). Players Brendin Pierre, Lucas Albers, Aireal Boyd, Demitrius Gray Bryan Shepherd, Antonio Rogers, and Charles Smith III also pleaded guilty.
Each of the players was ordered to serve 360 days of unsupervised probation, complete 50 hours of community service and pay $325 in fees. All of the sentences were deferred, meaning the crime will be expunged from a player’s record if he completes the conditions of his sentence.
Without enough legitimate signatures, both proposed ballot measures — one to set up a state conservation fund and the other to legalize medical marijuana usage — were kept off the November ballot.
Judge Douglas Herman said during sentencing that the defendants were “not smart enough, grown up enough or sophisticated enough” to understand the consequences of their actions, and should not be penalized for being football players.”