Ferris State head coach Tony Annese has been suspended for one game after two players lit cigars to celebrate the Bulldogs’ national championship victory.
The NCAA announced the suspension on Thursday, saying that Annese had violated the organization’s sportsmanship rules. The suspension will take effect for the first game of the 2023 season.
In a statement, Annese apologized for his actions and said that he “made a mistake.” He also said that he has already spoken to the players who lit the cigars and that they have been “reprimanded.”
“I take full responsibility for my actions and I understand the consequences,” Annese said. “I want to apologize to our fans, our players, and our university for my mistake. I also want to thank our fans for their support and our players for their hard work.”
The Bulldogs defeated Kutztown 38-17 in the Division II national championship game on December 18. The victory was the Bulldogs’ second national championship in program history.
Annese has been the head coach at Ferris State since 2012. He has led the Bulldogs to a 122-29 record in his nine seasons. The Bulldogs have won three national championships under Annese’s leadership.
The NCAA’s sportsmanship rules prohibit players from celebrating in a way that is “unsportsmanlike” or that “shows disrespect for the game.” The rules also prohibit coaches from encouraging players to violate the rules.
The NCAA’s suspension of Annese is the latest in a series of sanctions that the organization has handed down to coaches for violating sportsmanship rules. In recent years, the NCAA has suspended coaches for everything from yelling at referees to making inappropriate comments to players.
The NCAA’s sportsmanship rules are designed to promote good sportsmanship and to ensure that players and coaches respect the game. However, the rules have also been criticized for being too subjective. Some coaches have argued that the rules are unfair and that they are being enforced too inconsistently.
The NCAA’s suspension of Annese is likely to renew the debate over the sportsmanship rules. Some coaches will argue that the rules are too harsh, while others will argue that they are necessary to protect the integrity of the game.