Charleston Southern University head football coach Jamie Chadwell has confirmed several players will serve suspensions for what has been described as a “book store issue.”
“We’re going down with a full travel squad, the normal number that we would. Obviously, we’re missing some people that are some good players for us.” Chadwell said. “But, we’ve got some capable guys going down that we feel good about that will go down there and represent us well.”
Chadwell said playing Florida State with key players suspended isn’t the ideal situation, but he’s optimistic.
“We won’t go in there like that. We’ll go in there and play, and I think we’ll be fine,” he said.
In a statement, the university said 14 players will miss Saturday’s game at No. 3 Florida State. In total, 32 players will serve one-game suspensions, with 16 suspensions staggered over the first two weeks of the season and two additional players to server suspensions at a later date.
News of suspensions to CSU players “blew up” overnight on social media. Rumors of what players have been suspended and how many has been shared across news feeds everywhere. As CSU and the NCAA work to sort things out, Chadwell said it’s all unfortunate.
“I think it puts the focus on some other things instead of just the good things that are team is doing and that our university has done for us,” he said. “We’ll get through it, and hopefully we’ll represent ourselves well Saturday and try to regroup and get over this.
The coach hopes moving forward athletes will pay close attention to what’s shared on social media and how it reflects upon them, the team and the university.
“No matter what you do, always protect our team. You can have a voice, just make sure you are reasonable with what you’re saying. Always try to shed us in a positive light, not a negative. I know there was some good positive stuff that came out last night, but there were some negative things that didn’t need to. We’ll work through that.”
CSU athletic director Hank Small said students suspended are believed to have used scholarship money on things in the bookstore other than books. Under NCAA rules, student-athletes can purchase books and school supplies with the financial aid provided to them to buy books. Other items cannot be covered by that financial aid.
“Those are the rules, and we play by the rules,” Small said.
The university is seeking the maximum penalty on all offenders based on feedback from the NCAA, others in the conference and paid consultants, Small said.
“They’re telling you this is the necessary response,” Small said. “We felt like we needed to take that action.”
Last weekend it was learned Coach Chadwell will also serve a suspension. The NCAA says Chadwell violated social media rules. He will sit out the home game against Albany State on Oct. 8. Defensive coordinator Chad Staggs will fill Chadwell’s spot for that game.
Story courtesy ABC News 4, WCIV in Charleston, S.C.