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Publish date: Dec 8, 2011

Public reprimand and suspension issued to Lehigh University football student-athlete

NCAA.org

A Lehigh University football student-athlete has been publicly reprimanded and suspended from the team’s next game for misconduct during the 2011 NCAA Division I Football Championship.

The Division I Football Championship Committee said football student-athlete Ryan Spadola was being reprimanded and held out of Lehigh’s quarterfinal contest, against North Dakota State University this Saturday (Dec. 10), for using an inappropriate and repugnant racial reference to describe Towson University student-athletes on his Twitter page in the days leading up to their FCS preliminary round match-up.

The committee noted the steps Lehigh has already taken with this incident, including the public statement Head Coach Andy Coen made on the institution’s website addressing the issue, the public apology Spadola made on his Twitter page and the plans Lehigh and Spadola have made to involve him in participating and leading educational discussions on the topic of racially insensitive comments in the Lehigh University campus community.

“The football committee was very disappointed with the unsportsmanlike action taken by the student-athlete,” said Jim O’Day, chair of the Division I Football Championship Committee and director of athletics at the University of Montana. “This was a very unfortunate incident, but racially insensitive characterizations are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The offensive language of this nature by Mr. Spadola, whether intentional or not, was unsportsmanlike and discredited the championship overall.”