BIG RAPIDS--The NCAA announced Thursday that Ferris State University Head Coach Tony Annese will be suspended for one future playoff game. The suspension stems from the Bulldogs’ Division II National Championship win back in December, and how they chose to celebrate.
Two members of the Bulldogs football team violated stadium rules by smoking cigars in the ISD Stadium locker room following their 41-14 win over Colorado School of Mines. McKinney Stadium is a tobacco-free high school campus.
Additionally, some of FSU’s student-athletes attempted to remove Ferris State University branded temporary wall stickers to keep as souvenirs inside the locker room after the game.
FSU says these actions were addressed and stopped by coaches when they were made aware of them.
Ferris State University’s Athletic Director Steve Brockelbank issued the following statement, “I continue to be proud of the Ferris State University Football program and Coach Annese. I understand the concerns raised by the NCAA and we accept the responsibility for our actions, and we will work to ensure this does not happen again in the future. I support the efforts that Coach Annese continues to take to improve the football program for the betterment of the students we serve at Ferris State University.”
Back-to-back National Championship head coach Tony Annese released a statement of his own and hopes his team can grow from their mistakes.
“We are committed to running a program representing the ideals and values of Ferris State University, the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and the NCAA. I understand the concerns raised by the NCAA. Immediately after the game, while I was in the post-game press conference, the two issues cited by the NCAA were addressed by my coaching staff, he said. " As a coaching staff, each day leading up to the National Championship game, we had reminded our players that smoking cigars in celebration would not be allowed. My team was fully aware that the actions of the two players were inappropriate. No matter how minor the actions may seem, young people need to understand that there are consequences for their actions. We will address these concerns and continue to have a strong, positive football program that represents Ferris State University on and off the field.”