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>>

  • After rescue, soccer boys pray for protection at Thai temple

    After rescue, soccer boys pray for protection at Thai temple

    Thursday, July 19 2018 7:23 AM EDT2018-07-19 11:23:23 GMT
    (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit). Soccer coach Ekkapol Janthawong, second from left, and members of the rescued soccer team attend a Buddhist ceremony that is believed to extend the lives of its attendees as well as ridding them of dangers and misfortunes in M...(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit). Soccer coach Ekkapol Janthawong, second from left, and members of the rescued soccer team attend a Buddhist ceremony that is believed to extend the lives of its attendees as well as ridding them of dangers and misfortunes in M...
    The Thai soccer boys and their coach have attended a Buddhist ceremony to protect them against misfortunes, a day after they were discharged from a hospital following their rescue from a flooded cave.More >>
    The Thai soccer boys and their coach have attended a Buddhist ceremony to protect them against misfortunes, a day after they were discharged from a hospital following their rescue from a flooded cave.More >>
  • Hawaii lava boat tours continue after explosion, injuries

    Hawaii lava boat tours continue after explosion, injuries

    Thursday, July 19 2018 1:32 AM EDT2018-07-19 05:32:28 GMT
    (Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources via AP). This photo provided by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources shows damage to the roof of a tour boat after an explosion sent lava flying through the roof off the Big Island of Hawa...(Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources via AP). This photo provided by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources shows damage to the roof of a tour boat after an explosion sent lava flying through the roof off the Big Island of Hawa...
    Hawaii tour boat operators plan to continue taking visitors to see lava, but will follow the Coast Guard's revised policy and stay farther away after an explosion caused molten rock to barrel through the roof of a...More >>
    Hawaii tour boat operators plan to continue taking visitors to see lava, but will follow the Coast Guard's revised policy and stay farther away after an explosion caused molten rock to barrel through the roof of a vessel, injuring 23 people.More >>
  • Jupiter's moon count reaches 79, including tiny 'oddball'

    Jupiter's moon count reaches 79, including tiny 'oddball'

    Thursday, July 19 2018 1:32 AM EDT2018-07-19 05:32:24 GMT
    (GSFC) via AP, File). FILE - This April 3, 2017 image made available by NASA shows the planet Jupiter.   A team of astronomers is reporting the recent discovery of a dozen new moons circling the giant gas planet. That brings the number of moons at Jupi...(GSFC) via AP, File). FILE - This April 3, 2017 image made available by NASA shows the planet Jupiter. A team of astronomers is reporting the recent discovery of a dozen new moons circling the giant gas planet. That brings the number of moons at Jupi...
    Scientists have found more moons circling Jupiter, bringing the total to 79 at the giant gas planet.More >>
    Scientists have found more moons circling Jupiter, bringing the total to 79 at the giant gas planet.More >>
  • More NewsMore>>

  • Water leak reported on Meridian Road

    Water leak reported on Meridian Road

    Thursday, July 19 2018 7:21 AM EDT2018-07-19 11:21:19 GMT

    People driving to work through Cornersburg may encounter a wet commute this morning. 

    More >>

    People driving to work through Cornersburg may encounter a wet commute this morning. 

    More >>
  • Michael Avenatti talks about seeking the White House

    Exclusive: Stormy Daniels' attorney on WFMJ Today

    Exclusive: Stormy Daniels' attorney on WFMJ Today

    Thursday, July 19 2018 7:16 AM EDT2018-07-19 11:16:08 GMT
    Michael AvenattiMichael Avenatti
    Michael AvenattiMichael Avenatti

    The man who is perhaps best known for representing adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit over the alleged affair with President Trump in 2006 told 21 News he'll consider running for President if Democrats don't come up with a candidate who can successfully challenge Trump in the next election. 

    More >>

    The man who is perhaps best known for representing adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit over the alleged affair with President Trump in 2006 told 21 News he'll consider running for President if Democrats don't come up with a candidate who can successfully challenge Trump in the next election. 

    More >>
  • Another Beautiful Day On The Way!

    Another Beautiful Day On The Way!

    Thursday, July 19 2018 6:34 AM EDT2018-07-19 10:34:00 GMT

    The sunrise across the valley this morning is breathtaking! #MorningReady pic.twitter.com/ZZA2QFf1M4 — StormTracker 21 (@StormTracker21) July 19, 2018 Happy Thursday to you! We are one day closer to Friday and you are not going to want to wish away today! The forecast is looking absolutely beautiful, we will reach a warm high of 83 degrees later this afternoon. Sunshine and continued low humidity will be the star of the show. We expect the first half of Friday to remain dry...

    More >>

    The sunrise across the valley this morning is breathtaking! #MorningReady pic.twitter.com/ZZA2QFf1M4 — StormTracker 21 (@StormTracker21) July 19, 2018 Happy Thursday to you! We are one day closer to Friday and you are not going to want to wish away today! The forecast is looking absolutely beautiful, we will reach a warm high of 83 degrees later this afternoon. Sunshine and continued low humidity will be the star of the show. We expect the first half of Friday to remain dry...

    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