NDSU Football Players Might Get Suspensions Over Petition Fraud After All?

dean bresciani

Fargo Forum reporter Ryan Johnson covers some mixed signals coming from university President Dean Bresciani about the fate of 10 NDSU football players caught fraudulently submitting tens of thousands of petition signatures on two measures.

In the statement, his second in two days, Bresciani said all students charged with crimes are subject to the university’s internal disciplinary review process. As student athletes, they also face possible review by their team or the athletics department.

“I apologize for any confusion caused by our athletics department comments about the student disciplinary process,” he said in the statement. “Contrary to what has been suggested or implied, no decisions have been made.”

Head coach Craig Bohl said Monday the players could face discipline but won’t be suspended, echoing Athletic Director Gene Taylor’s statement after the team’s win over Colorado State that the accused players won’t be suspended.

It wasn’t clear if Bresciani’s Wednesday statement referenced possible athletic discipline or the disciplinary review that applies to all students.

The lack of transparency in the university system never ceases to amaze me.

Regardless, this certainly sounds as though suspensions are very much still on the table for the players involved in the crime, which is a move in the right direction though I’m not sure I consider a mere suspension to be enough for this level of dishonesty and fraud.

But it’s intriguing to watch Bresciani tried to hide behind the process. From the beginning of this scandal university officials have insisted that the players should get their “day in court.” Forget that, just days after making this claim, some of these same officials said they had already concluded that suspensions were in order. Forget, also, that other players in similar situations – some accused of less serious crimes – were removed from the team before their day in court.

According to Johnson’s article, “The university has a lower burden of proof than the courts, only needing to find a student “more likely than not” broke a law or the code of conduct to decide they should be punished.”

The football players have admitted to their guilt. What else does the university need to act?

The problem with this whole fiasco isn’t so much what the punishment should or shouldn’t be for these players. The problem is that NDSU clearly isn’t applying a consistent standard for all students. Some students – notably those who are very good football players – get more patience and leniency. That’s indefensible.

Meanwhile, there finally seems to be some movement on this issue from leaders beyond NDSU:

Chancellor Hamid Shrivani said Wednesday that in the wake of this petition fraud case, the North Dakota University System will look at current student disciplinary processes to ensure consistency across all 11 public colleges and universities.

That might just be a throw-away line, but let’s hope somebody starts demanding some accountability

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • borborygmi

    And Rob starts stretching so he doesn’t pull a hammie, in preparation of his happy dance. Should anyone be punished before they have their day in court?

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      The players admitted their guilt.

      What part of that don’t you understand?

      • borborygmi

        What part of it hasn’t gone through the legal process don’t you understand?
        I do agree with you that NDSU high Muckety Mucks have created a massive clusterf00k. If they would have let Jemison stay on the team would you have protested?

        • justahick

          If Jamison had not been dismissed Rob would have bitched about NDSU keeping a sex preditor on the team. Anything to make higher ed and NDSU look bad.

          • Albert/Emil/Hanni Are Dolts!

            NDSU is doing a great job all by themselves making itself look bad.

  • justahick

    Where does the idea come from that everyone has to have the same punishment? Sometimes people earn breaks that other people haven’t. Being a better football player is not one of them but none of know about other disipline problems some players may have had. I used to work for a business that had a union. The one thing I could not stand is their, the union’s, belief that noone creates their own breaks.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      It’s not that everyone deserves the same punishment. It’s that everyone deserves the same process.

      NDSU is not being consistent.

      • Geoff

        Happy now rob “heitkamp” port?
        I think su was clear all along. Non violent, non drug related, non sexual. Jamison who you have referred to, was in fact sexual. My only hope is that if he is clearly exonerated I think bohl shoul apologize and let him back on the team. One question rob. If a student (non athelete) at su committed the same crime as these players, what should their punishment be from the university?

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          You’re asking me to compare apples to oranges.

          The reason NDSU has a process that allows for separate punishments for students and student athletes (the one referenced in the article) is that the athletes are representing the school and the state. Because they’re in the limelight, they’re held to a higher standard.

          Which is how it works in life. With fame or power comes responsibility. These players perpetrated a massive fraud. North Dakotans ought not be put through the shame of having such dishonest, disreputable people representing them on the football team.

        • Albert/Emil/Hanni Are Dolts!

          Holy cats are you an idiot! You have no problem with a player openly committing any degree of a crime and you think they should be able to play. You’re ignorance is only exceeded by your arrogance!!

      • justahick

        How do you know they are not being consistant? What other disipline problems these players have in their past compared to Jameson? I heard from a source I trust he has had other issues. They were handled in house and not in the media. I know for a fact of other players that were disiplined internally that not many people knew about.

  • Harold

    Voter or election fraud isn’t very high on the radar of all those liberal educators in Higher Ed.

    • NDConservative2011

      What else would you expect from President Bresciani ? After explaining to the legislature that a 3.5% cap on tuition rates was not necessary, and just three weeks after the legislature completed their session, he requested and received permission from the Board of Higher Education to raise tuition by 8.8% – he certainly is someone I would trust ! ! ! A real man of his word! I did had an opportunity to meet him, and to shake his hand, and thought it necessary to count my fingers on my right hand to make sure I got them all back.

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