Hearing postponed in player's suit against YSU

ma’lik richmond case

Staff/wire report


A hearing has been postponed in a lawsuit that football player Ma’lik Richmond, convicted of sexual assault as a teen, has filed against Youngstown State University over not allowing him to play.

Richmond, of Steubenville, filed the lawsuit Sept. 13 after YSU allowed him to join the football team and then told him he couldn’t play this season.

A judge issued a temporary order the next day allowing Richmond to play until a hearing, originally planned for today, on whether to make the order permanent.

But the hearing at the Thomas D. Lambros Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse has been postponed, and an attorney representing the school says a new hearing date has not been set. Richmond’s attorney says the order will allow Richmond to continue playing until the hearing takes place.

The school’s football team has a game scheduled this Saturday.

Richmond played his first downs as a YSU player Sept. 16. The hearing that was slated for today was to determine whether he can continue to play.

On Sept. 14, Judge Benita Y. Pearson granted Richmond a temporary restraining order ruling that YSU could not prevent him from playing in football games unless the action resulted from a legitimate coaching decision.

YSU appealed the decision, but the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal because YSU did not demonstrate that it would be irreparably harmed if Richmond were to play.

Coach Bo Pelini put Richmond in the game late in the third quarter. All members of YSU’s roster played in the 59-9 win over Central Connecticut State University.

Richmond’s next opportunity to compete would be Saturday against South Dakota State University at Stambaugh Stadium.

YSU had previously issued a statement that said Richmond would be allowed to remain on the team but not participate in athletic competition after a petition circulated asking for his removal.

Richmond was one of two Steubenville High School football players convicted of rape by a juvenile court judge in a highly publicized 2012 case.

Richmond’s lawyers argue that he was denied the right to play football this season despite not having violated the student code of conduct – a breach of contract – and without due process in violation of the 14th Amendment.

While YSU disputed whether students enter into a contract with the university, Judge Pearson said this was Richmond’s strongest claim.

Richmond’s lawyers also claim the university discriminated against Richmond on the basis of his gender, in violation of Title IX – a federal law that requires universities to provide the same opportunities to both male and female students.

The Sept. 13 complaint filed by Richmond’s attorneys claimed YSU had been “infected by an anti-male bias that has swept across America’s universities and colleges” which led the university to defer to “female-led advocacy” demanding Richmond be punished for actions that occurred before his time at YSU.

YSU’s attorneys contended that Richmond failed to show that a female student in the same circumstances would have received different treatment.

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