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UMass football coach faces one-week suspension, including weekend game against USF

USF will travel to Amherst on Saturday to play UMass, but the Minutemen's head coach won’t be on the sideline.

Mark Whipple was suspended because of a comment he made in a postgame radio interview after the Minutemen lost to Ohio 58-42 last week.

“We had a chance there with 16 down and they rape us, and he picks up the flag,” Whipple said.

Whipple was referencing a play that he thought should have received a pass-interference call in favor of the Minutemen, but his choice to use the word “rape” to describe the official’s call received significant backlash.

UMass Athletic Director Ryan Bamford suspended Whipple without pay for a week, as of Sunday. He will not be involved in any coaching duties during the suspension.

In Whipple’s absence, defensive coordinator Ed Pinkham will serve as acting coach against USF.

Both Whipple and UMass have issued apology statements.

According to the university’s apology, Whipple’s comments don’t reflect the values of the institution, the athletics program or football program.

Whipple's statement echoed that of the university.

“I am deeply sorry for the word I used on Saturday to describe a play in our game,” he said. “It is unacceptable to make use of the word ‘rape’ in any way I did and I am very sorry for doing so. It represents a lack of responsibility on my part as the leader of this program and a member of this university’s community, and I am disappointed with myself that I made this comparison when commenting after our game.”

In addition to Whipple’s suspension, he must also participate in a sensitivity-training program provided by the school.