Mike Houston addresses JMU suspensions as title game approaches
During a teleconference with media members Thursday, James Madison head coach Mike Houston provided further clarification and addressed rumors surrounding the seven players suspended indefinitely.
"They've been suspended for about three weeks now. They will be suspended well beyond the championship game," Houston said.
JMU originally announced the suspensions on Monday, December 19, three days after its win over North Dakota State in the FCS national semifinals.
"Everyone who played versus North Dakota State is expected to play on January 7th in Frisco," Houston added.
Last week, the school confirmed that wide receiver Terrence Alls and linebacker Brandon Hereford were among the seven suspended players. Neither Houston nor the athletic department would confirm the names of the other five that are suspended.
"Those seven young men are good kids. They made a mistake. They are paying for that mistake," Houston said. "There's been a lot of rumors. There's been a lot of speculation. I will say that none of them were arrested. There was no performance enhancing drugs or anything like that. They made a mistake and they're paying the consequences."
Houston added that he would not comment further on the suspensions until after the FCS title game in Frisco, Texas on January 7.
Athletic director Jeff Bourne weighed in on how the school handled the news of the suspensions in an exclusive interview with WHSV on Wednesday.
"I know coach has been very open with regard to his feelings and why he's done taken the stance that he did. And I'm sure that as we even progress through the championship, a lot of that will come to bare," Bourne said.
"I regret it for those young men especially those who spent so much time in our program and are really good young men. They just unfortunately made a mistake that stings."
The Dukes will play Youngstown State in the FCS national championship game, seeking their second title in school history and first in 12 years.