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Public reprimand and suspension issued to Stony Brook University football student-athlete

A Stony Brook University football student-athlete has been publicly reprimanded and suspended from the team’s next championship opportunity for misconduct during the 2011 NCAA Division I Football Championship.

The Division I Football Championship Committee said football student-athlete Matt Faiella used an inappropriate and offensive racial reference on his Twitter page to describe Towson University student-athletes. The committee determined Faiella’s statements were grounds for championship misconduct inasmuch as the posting occurred during the span of the championship, the statement was made by a student-athlete participating in the championship and the statement was in reference to other student-athletes participating in the championship. As a result, a public reprimand and disqualification were issued. Due to Stony Brook being eliminated from the championship at the time of the misconduct review process, the penalty will be applied to the next championship in which Faiella’s team is involved.

The committee originally assessed the reprimand and suspension, and Stony Brook appealed the decision by bringing those before the Administrative Committee of the NCAA Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet. The Administrative Committee reviewed relevant materials, submitted correspondence and statements made during the appeal hearing in the process of making its final decision to uphold the public reprimand and suspension.

“This was a very unfortunate incident, but racially insensitive characterizations are unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” said Jim O’Day, chair of the Division I Football Championship Committee and director of athletics at the University of Montana. “The offensive language of this nature by Mr. Faiella, whether intentional or not, was unsportsmanlike and discredited the championship overall.”