Eight North Dakota State University football players, including four starters, will remain on the roster while criminal charges against them for forging signatures on ballot initiative petitions are resolved, their coach said Tuesday.
The players were paid $9 an hour to gather signatures for two citizen initiatives, which sought to set up a state conservation fund and make marijuana legal for medical treatments. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said many of the petition signatures were copied from phone books or fabricated.
North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger said the alleged fraud made both initiatives ineligible for a statewide vote in November.
Stenehjem said 11 people have been charged in the case, including the eight players for the defending Football Championship Subdivision champions.
Four are starters -- 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.
Williams is a junior cornerback who played at Hopkins High School and earned All-America honors for the Bison last year. Colville is a redshirt freshman who played at Minnetonka.
Bison coach Craig Bohl said the players have cooperated with investigators and any team discipline will be decided after they finish legal proceedings. The players will be eligible to play this weekend against Colorado State, he said.
Mathieu back at LSU
Tyrann Mathieu, a 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist, has enrolled at LSU. Whether the player known as the Honey Badger ever plays football for the Tigers again remains to be seen.
LSU coach Les Miles said that the time is not right to speculate on the former star cornerback's future with the program.
All that is certain at this point is that Mathieu, who was dismissed from the team Aug. 10 for failed drug tests, won't be playing this season.
Purdue changes QBs
Purdue quarterback Caleb TerBush will start for the Boilermakers against Notre Dame on Saturday. Coach Danny Hope said Tuesday that TerBush set himself apart from the other quarterbacks earlier this year.
Robert Marve threw for a career-high 295 yards on 30-for-38 passing and three touchdowns last week as Purdue beat Eastern Kentucky.
Alabama moves up to No. 1
Alabama is the new No. 1 in The Associated Press poll, moving past Southern California after its resounding victory against Michigan.
The Crimson Tide swayed more than enough voters with its 41-14 victory Saturday night in Texas to overtake the preseason No. 1 Trojans, who beat Hawaii 49-10. USC entered that game a 40-point favorite at home.
• The Notre Dame radio network suspended former Irish running back and commentator Allen Pinkett without pay for two more games after his comments last week that teams need bad guys to give them an edge.
• TCU starting receiver Skye Dawson was suspended for Saturday's season opener against Grambling State after violating school policy.
• Tulane coach Curtis Johnson was hospitalized after struggling with symptoms of apparent heat exhaustion during Tuesday's practice. Johnson was released from the hospital Tuesday night.
• Tulsa will be without its top wide receiver for the rest of the season after senior Bryan Burnham tore a ligament in his right knee in the season opener.