Why judge ruled for Ma'lik Richmond and against YSU - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Read the judge's opinion

Why judge ruled for Ma'lik Richmond and against YSU

Posted: Updated:
Judge Benita Pearson Judge Benita Pearson
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

A federal judge thinks a student suing to play football for Youngstown State University has some viable claims against the university.

U.S. District Judge Benita Pearson issued a three-page opinion on Thursday, forbidding the university from preventing Ma'lik Richmond from playing for reasons other than legitimate coaching decisions that are applied equally to other players.

Richmond, who served one year in a juvenile detention facility for raping a 16-year-old girl at a party, became part of the Penguin football team in January.

Richmond making the team wasn't reported by the media until August, which spurred protests from some members of the public, including an online petition to have him kicked off the YSU squad.

The university reacted by announcing that Richmond would not be on the football field for any games and Richmond reacted by suing YSU.

Although Judge Pearson wrote in her opinion that it isn't yet clear if Richmond will prevail if he takes his case before a jury, she calls “viable” Richmond's claims that the university breached a contract with him and that YSU violated the federal law guaranteeing equal opportunities for both male and female athletes.

RELATED COVERAGE: Judge grants restraining order allowing Ma'lik Richmond to play

Judge Pearson also acknowledged in her opinion that Richmond would suffer “irreparable harm”, due in part to him being banned from playing football for what she characterized as “past behavior—non-YSU student related behavior---without notice or process.”

"No student has a right to play football," said Attorney David Betras of WFMJ's Legally Speaking. "But what the judge says is the reason you (YSU) were keeping him from playing football was based on past behavior and you didn't even give him a hearing."

As for the university's claim that it would suffer harm if Richmond is allowed to play football, Judge Person called the harm “self-inflicted”.

She called the university's claim that allowing Richmond to play would cause harm to the greater community uncertain since public opinion both in favor and against banning Richmond from play is not yet known.

While Pearson acknowledged that the public is interested in promoting respect for the safety of college campuses, she says the public also has a great interest in public institutions keeping promises.

The judge's order forbids YSU from removing Richmond from the active player roster before a hearing scheduled for September 28.

Judge Pearson's order may be read here.

  • More From wfmj.comHot ClicksMore>>

  • In posthumous message, Hawking says science under threat

    In posthumous message, Hawking says science under threat

    Wednesday, October 17 2018 8:19 PM EDT2018-10-18 00:19:58 GMT
    Stephen Hawking has spoken from beyond the grave to warn that science and education are under threat around the world.More >>
    Stephen Hawking has spoken from beyond the grave to warn that science and education are under threat around the world.More >>
  • Salesforce vs. Twitter in San Francisco homeless tax fight

    Salesforce vs. Twitter in San Francisco homeless tax fight

    Tuesday, October 16 2018 10:54 PM EDT2018-10-17 02:54:04 GMT
    (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu). In this Oct. 1, 2018 photo, Stormy Nichole Day, left, sits on a sidewalk on Haight Street with Nord (last name not given) and his dog Hobo while interviewed about being homeless in San Francisco. A measure on San Francisco's Nov. ...(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu). In this Oct. 1, 2018 photo, Stormy Nichole Day, left, sits on a sidewalk on Haight Street with Nord (last name not given) and his dog Hobo while interviewed about being homeless in San Francisco. A measure on San Francisco's Nov. ...
    San Francisco voters have a measure on the Nov. 6 ballot that would tax hundreds of the city's wealthiest companies to help thousands of homeless and mentally ill.More >>
    San Francisco voters have a measure on the Nov. 6 ballot that would tax hundreds of the city's wealthiest companies to help thousands of homeless and mentally ill.More >>
  • Trump marvels at hurricane damage, hears stories of struggle

    Trump marvels at hurricane damage, hears stories of struggle

    Tuesday, October 16 2018 12:59 PM EDT2018-10-16 16:59:45 GMT
    (AP Photo/Evan Vucci). President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Air Force One for a trip to visit areas affected by Hurricane Michael, Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, in Andrews Air Force Base, Md.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci). President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Air Force One for a trip to visit areas affected by Hurricane Michael, Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, in Andrews Air Force Base, Md.
    Trump, first lady arrive in Florida to survey areas devastated by Hurricane Michael.More >>
    Trump, first lady arrive in Florida to survey areas devastated by Hurricane Michael.More >>
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms