Steph Curry Does Not Approve This Message | Division II National Champ Coach Suspended For Future Playoff Game Because They Put One In The Air

The NCAA announced Thursday that Ferris State football coach Tony Annese has been suspended for his team’s next NCAA championship playoff game. The suspension is a result of two Ferris State players lighting cigars in the locker room following Ferris State’s Division II national title win last season.

Yes, you read that right.

The ridiculous NCAA is suspending a coach because his players celebrated with cigars. What are we doing here?

Can Players Smoke Cigars After Games?

Players are allowed to smoke cigars in the locker room after games, but the Division II title game was being hosted at McKinney ISD Stadium in Texas. The school has a strict no tobacco policy on campus.

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.

Annese took responsibility and talked about young people understanding there are consequences for their actions and all the stuff you would find in a statement prepared by team PR.

“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,” Annese said in a statement Thursday. “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 players 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.”

NCAA Is Trying To Act Tough

Yes, there are rules and they should be followed and if damage was done to the property Ferris State should be held responsible. But this feels unwarranted.

Suspending a coach for a playoff game because two players lit cigars. That punishment doesn’t seem to line up. Why not suspend Annese for the next regular season game?

This feels like the NCAA trying to look tough as its power and authority wanes in the face of NIL deals and athletes having more agency.

There is an old saying that is often attributed to the late legendary former UNLV men’s head basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian:

“The NCAA is so mad at Kentucky they’re gonna give Cleveland State two more years probation.” 

It’s never been confirmed that Tark actually said this, but the sentiment holds true.

NIL deals have allowed players to challenge the system like never before. They have earning power and are able to legitimately connect to power players. This scares the NCAA, and as college sports continues to evolve the organization will have less control and authority.

There could be a world where big-time revenue-generating Division I sports break away from the NCAA because they don’t need a sham governing body. Stephen Curry, LeBron James and the long tradition of champions that have expressed the message that cigars are a luxury of being a championship team would probably scoff at this suspension. James has expressed his disgust towards the NCAA, as he jumped to the NBA from high school. Talk about taking the fun out of the game. What will be left for the NCAA to govern are non-revenue-generating and Division II and III programs, and maybe that’s how it should be.

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