NCAA Makes Final Ruling on Marshall Men’s Soccer Suspensions

The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Soccer Rules Committee determined Tuesday that Marshall men’s soccer coach Chris Grassie must serve an eight-game suspension, effectively immediately, for an administrative error pertaining to card accumulation.

In addition to the penalty for the head coach, the committee determined that junior midfielder Pedro Dolabella must sit out the rest of the season or a minimum of four games, whichever is longer. Grassie and Dolabella were also suspended for Marshall’s NCAA Tournament win against West Virginia on Sunday, which counts toward the number of games each must be sidelined.

Marshall, the No. 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament, plays at sixth-seeded Washington this Sunday at 8 p.m. Eastern.

“This was an honest mistake,” Marshall Director of Athletics Mike Hamrick said. “There was no ill intent here and no attempt to gain a competitive advantage. We fully support Chris Grassie and the program he is building at Marshall. He is a first-class person who recruits quality student-athletes who represent Marshall University in a positive manner.”

Dolabella received a yellow card and a red card in the final match of the 2018 season – a 2-1 loss to Kentucky in the Conference USA Tournament in Charlotte, North Carolina. While the head coach bears the ultimate responsibility for knowing to withhold players from contests, the referee from that match did not follow an NCAA-mandated rule and never entered the card into the NCAA’s red card depository. As a result, ejection reports were never sent to the coach, conference office or Marshall University athletic administration.

Per NCAA rules, Dolabella was required to sit out one match this season as a penalty for the red card. Dolabella appeared in the Thundering Herd’s first 20 matches this season – the entire regular season schedule and the Conference USA Tournament.