The NCAA announced Thursday that Ferris State coach Tony Annese has been suspended for one game. However, this isn't any ordinary suspension as Annese will have to serve the one-game ban during his team's next NCAA championship playoff game, whenever that may be.
The suspension stems from two Ferris State players lighting cigars in the locker room following Ferris State's Division II national title win last season.
Players are normally permitted to smoke cigars in the locker room following games, but the Division II Championship Game was being hosted at McKinney ISD Stadium in Texas. Like many high schools throughout the nation, the school has a strict no tobacco policy on campus.
In addition to Annese being suspended for the next postseason game that he'd be eligible to coach in, the NCAA also announced that Ferris State had to pay restitution to the McKinney Independent School District in the amount of $15,383 for cleaning and repair expenses as a result of the cigar smoking. The school was also fined $2,500.
"We are committed to running a program representing the ideals and values of Ferris State University, the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and the NCAA," Annese said in a statement. "I understand the concerns raised by the NCAA. Immediately after the game, while I was in the postgame press conference, the two issues cited by the NCAA were addressed by my coaching staff. As a coaching staff, each day leading up to the National Championship game, we had reminded our players that smoking cigars in celebration would not be allowed. My team was fully aware that the actions of the two payers were inappropriate. No matter how minor the actions may seem, young people need to understand that there are consequences for their actions. We will address these concerns and continue to have a strong, positive football program that represents Ferris State University on and off the field."
According to Football Scoop, Ferris State players celebrated their first national title win in 2021 by smoking cigars in the locker room after the game. The NCAA reportedly warned them not to commit the act again.