NDSU won’t suspend players in N.D. petition fraud caseFARGO (AP) — North Dakota State University football players who were charged with faking petition signatures to get two measures on the November ballot will not be suspended from the team, a university official says.
By: Associated Press, The Jamestown Sun
FARGO (AP) — North Dakota State University football players who were charged with faking petition signatures to get two measures on the November ballot will not be suspended from the team, a university official says.
After the Bison defeated Colorado State 22-7 Saturday night, NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor made it clear there would be no suspensions on the team, the defending NCAA Football Championship Subdivision champion.
“These kids don’t deserve a suspension,” Taylor told The Forum newspaper.
NDSU officials previously said the players would not be disciplined until the criminal charges were resolved and that the allegations were not considered serious enough to suspend them.
Taylor said Saturday that neither he nor head coach Craig Bohl will suspend the players. “As far as we are concerned, it is over.”
“What’s going to happen in court, in my opinion, is going to be a lot less than what people think,” Taylor said. “At the end of the day, these kids have been through enough.”
Taylor made the comments with NDSU President Dean Bresciani standing a few feet away. Bresciani told the Forum he did not want to comment on inner-department matters.
Nine current NDSU football players and three former players were among 15 people charged Friday with faking petition signatures in a scandal that blocked two voter initiatives from getting on the November ballot. They were charged with a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $2,000 fine. They are scheduled to appear in court Oct. 2.
One ballot measure sought to establish a state fund to promote conservation, environmental and water projects. The second was aimed at making marijuana use legal for people suffering from chronic pain and debilitating illnesses.
Secretary of State Al Jaeger disqualified both measures, saying checks of petition signatures uncovered significant fraud. Jaeger said petition carriers may have felt pressure to meet daily signature quotas by making up names.
Taylor said the players felt terrible about the charges and resulting publicity.
“They were vilified many times over and to come up and perform like they did, it’s hats off to them. I’m tired of talking about it, and I’m tired of seeing it in the paper. People need to move on because it’s not changing,” Taylor said.