Pelini won't confirm or deny possible player suspensions
(STATS) - Youngstown State football coach Bo Pelini refused to say Tuesday whether some of his players will be suspended for the team's FCS national semifinal at Eastern Washington on Saturday.
The Vindicator newspaper and broadcast partner WFMJ-TV in Youngstown reported Monday night that Youngstown State (11-3) will be without four or five players, including three who usually receive significant playing time, because they apparently tested positive for an unidentified substance following the team's second-round win over Jacksonville State on Dec. 3.
"In regards to whatever reports are out there, I don't confirm, deny, I don't talk about our discipline and our internal policies and what we do," Pelini said at his weekly news conference. "I don't talk about it in the media. I haven't for two years."
Youngstown State, a Missouri Valley Football Conference member, released a projected starting lineup that was the same as before its quarterfinal-round win over Wofford this past Saturday.
WFMJ reported the test results following the Jacksonville State game were re-tested at a later date and that may explain all players being eligible for the Wofford game.
The NCAA tests for steroids and masking agents year-round as well as for stimulants and recreational drugs during the postseason.
"For us, it's business for usual," Pelini said. "If there is discipline, for whatever reason, I don't talk about it, I protect our kids. That's how we go about our business here at YSU, and it's always been my policy."
WFMJ later reported senior running back Martin Ruiz, the team's second-leading rusher, was arrested last Tuesday for charges which include carrying a concealed weapon and improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle. His car had been pulled over for a turn signal violation.
He carried the ball one time for four yards in the Wofford game.
Youngstown State, a four-time FCS champion in the 1990s, is appearing in the playoffs for the first time since 2006. The Penguins have won three playoff games heading into their matchup at Eastern Washington (12-1), the No. 2 seed and a Big Sky Conference co-champion.