YSU penalized for violations under Pelini

YOUNGSTOWN — The Bo Pelini era at Youngstown State Unversity didn’t end all that well, and the negative effects from it are still impacting the Penguins.

Youngstown State football was placed on probation for two years and hit with recruiting sanctions by the NCAA on Tuesday after the school and the association agreed several rules violations were committed under the former head coach.

Using the NCAA’s negotiated resolution process, the school agreed it failed to monitor its football program when it permitted three staff members to recruit off campus without completing the coaches’ certification test for 2019-20 academic year.

An assistant coach also was found to have recruited a player at a Division II school without knowing he was not in the transfer portal and without notifying the player’s school.

The report does not specifically mention Pelini, who was head coach at Youngstown from 2015-19, but it does refer to the former head coach who left to become a defensive coordinator at another school. The former Nebraska head coach was the defensive coordinator at LSU until last December. Pelini went 33-28 at YSU and 10-13 in his final two seasons.

Youngstown State found that Pelini and two assistants had not taken the certification test required for off-campus recruiting. That resulted in impermissible contacts with 16 prospects and impermissible evaluations of two more.

In addition to probation, Youngstown State was stripped of three official visits during the 2021-22 academic year, given a two-week ban on unofficial visits and all recruiting communication, and had its evaluation days reduced by three.

The assistant football coach who had improperly recruited the Division II transfer was suspended from all coaching duties during three preseason football dates and banned from recruiting activities from Feb. 13-26.

Pelini was replaced by Doug Phillips in February of 2020. The Penguins finished their spring season two weeks ago, going 1-6.


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