Former Nebraska coach Bo Pelini has spent part of the last week defending his decision to add Ma'lik Richmond, a convicted rapist, to his Youngstown State football team.
According to WKBN, YSU announced that Richmond will remain with the team as a practice player and surrender a year of eligibility, but will not be permitted to play in games.
Richmond began fall workouts with the Penguins this week.
"I believe in him, but I told him, 'I'll hold your your feet to the fire, '" Pelini told The Vindicator.
He transferred to YSU in January and is trying to make the football team as a walk-on.
"He's been here [for a year] and I haven't heard of any issues with him", Tressel said.
But the comments from Pelini and Tressel did little to stem the online protests from outraged students, alumni and others over Richmond's presence on the team.
Richmond, now 21, will be a member of the team at Youngstown State, a Football Championship Subdivision school in northeastern OH, but will forfeit a year of participation, the school said in a statement.
As of Monday night, the Change.org petition received almost 8,000 signatures.
The release states Richmond is not attending YSU on a scholarship and remains in good standing academically.
Richmond's co-defendant in the rape case, Trent Mays, has joined the football team at Division II Central State University in OH after playing quarterback for two years at Hocking College.
The school said Richmond participated in spring practice and earned a spot on the roster as a walk-on. "He continues to be in good standing on the YSU campus". The University has increased its efforts in the past years to inform, educate and prevent sexual assault and to provide services to victims of sexual assault.