Smoking ban: Ferris State coach suspended one game

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Sometimes it leads to a one-game NCAA suspension.

Such is the fate facing Ferris State football coach Tony Annese, who will sit out Saturday’s Division II playoff game against rival Grand Valley State.

The NCAA announced Annese’s ban earlier this year, a punishment for two of his players lighting up cigars inside a smoke-free locker room after winning the national championship last season.

“Technically speaking I can be at the game. Just got to buy my own ticket,” Annese told WOOD-TV on Wednesday. “So I don’t know if that’s a good idea.”

Annese won’t be on the sidelines when the visiting Bulldogs (8-2) face Grand Valley State (9-1) in the first round of the playoffs in Allendale, Mich.

“When I stopped feeling sorry for myself and start to put it into perspective, I know my team will be fighting for me on the sidelines,” said Annese, who has coached Ferris State since 2012.

“Self-pity’s the greatest form of self-destruction, so I just gotta suck it up and be a big boy.”

Ferris State is located in Big Rapids, Mich., and is a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

The Bulldogs defeated Colorado Mines 41-14 to win their second consecutive national title on Dec. 17, 2022.

Ferris State also had to pay a $2,500 fine and more than $15,000 in cleaning and repair expenses at the stadium in McKinney, Texas, which has a no-smoking policy. The Texas stadium hosted the national championship game.