CBSSports.com --- Eight North Dakota State University football players, including four starters, are among 11 people charged with faking petition signatures in a scheme that will keep two well-funded initiatives off the November ballot.Yesterday NDSU football coach Craig Bohl said he had known about the ongoing investigation for some time now and none of the players that are involved in the voter fraud scandal will be suspended until after they get their day in court – if ever – honestly, I wouldn't count on any disciplinary action coming from this coaching staff. Of course most of us know, this will probably never hit the court room while the Thundering Herd is playing during the 2012 season, so basically this will be brushed under the table.
Bison coach Craig Bohl said the players will be eligible to play this weekend against Colorado State and any team discipline would wait until after the criminal case was resolved.
The players were hired, at $9 an hour, to gather signatures for two citizen initiatives, one to set up a state conservation fund and the other to make marijuana legal for medical treatments. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said Tuesday that many of the petition signatures were copied from phone books or fabricated.
North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger said he was told petition circulators had to get at least 50 signatures each day and those that collected at least 80 names received bonuses. Workers who fell short of those goals would have had an incentive to add names, he said.
Those charged include starting running back Samuel Ojuri, defensive backs Marcus Williams and Brendin Pierre, and offensive lineman Josh Colville. Backup defensive backs Bryan Shepherd and Aireal Boyd, reserve middle linebacker Antonio Rodgers and Demitrius Gray, a freshman wide receiver, also face charges. Gray is a redshirt and does not travel with the team.
School officials said Tuesday that players would be available only to talk about football matters and not the court case. Bohl said he did not expect the charges to be a distraction to the defending Football Championship Subdivision champions.
If the four are starters – junior running back Samuel Ojuri, junior defensive backs Marcus Williams and Brendin Pierre, and junior offensive lineman Josh Colville are to suffer any consequences they will be minor and come during the offseason when no one is paying attention.
Links to the Story
NDSU football has 8 players under voter fraud investigation - Detroit Lakes on-line
Charges against 8 Bison football players expected in voter fraud case that kills two ballot measures - Fargo Forum
Eight NDSU football players facing fraud charges - StarTribune
Eight NDSU football players face petition fraud charges - Argus Leader
Voter Fraud: Bison players among 11 facing voter fraud charges - Jamestown Sun
Bohl: All eight Bison players charged with voting fraud still on team, will have their day in court - Dickenson Press
8 NDSU football players charged in petition fraud - Minot Daily News
8 NDSU players charged with petition fraud - Yahoo Sports
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