Steubenville rapist sues university to play football

YOUNGSTOWN, OH (WKBN) – A man who was convicted of rape as a teen and served nearly a year in a juvenile prison in a highly publicized case in Ohio has sued Youngstown State University after the school allowed him to join the football team as a walk-on and then told him he couldn’t play this season.

Ma’lik Richmond, of Steubenville, filed the federal lawsuit Wednesday. Richmond is asking for reinstatement to the team’s active roster, attorney fees and an unspecified amount of damages.

In the lawsuit, Richmond claims his civil rights are being violated by the university. He argues that since he is a student at the school and made the football team, he should be allowed to play.

A student petition sought to remove Richmond from the team based on his sexual assault conviction while he was a high school student in Steubenville. In August, YSU announced that Richmond would continue to be part of the team, but he would not be allowed to compete in games.

The lawsuit states that Richmond was assured by Coach Bo Pelini and YSU President Jim Tressel that despite his misconduct as a teen, he would be allowed to play on the team. Richmond is seeking an injunction to allow him to be eligible to play this Saturday against Central Connecticut State.

A hearing is scheduled for Thursday afternoon at the federal courthouse in Youngstown.

NBC4 sister station WKBN reached out to Youngstown State University, but they have not yet responded to our request for comment.