Mark Whipple, UMass football coach, suspended after saying officials 'rape us'

Massachusetts head coach Mark Whipple was suspended Sunday for one game.

The University of Massachusetts suspended head football coach Mark Whipple for one game Sunday after he used the word "rape" when complaining about the officiating in a 58-42 loss to Ohio University.

Whipple will miss the Minutemen's home game against South Florida and all team activities leading up to it. Defensive Coordinator Ed Pinkham will serve as acting head coach.

Whipple made the comment in his postgame news conference when asked about possible pass interference against one of UMass' receivers that did not draw a penalty from the Mid-American Conference officiating crew.

"We had a chance there with 16 down and they rape us, and he picks up the flag," said Whipple, who later used the word "mugged" to describe what happened to his player and called the officiating the worst he had experienced in his career.

"On behalf of our department, I deeply apologize for the comments made by head coach Mark Whipple on Saturday after our game at Ohio," athletic director Ryan Bamford said in a statement. "His reference to rape was highly inappropriate, insensitive and inexcusable under any circumstance. Coach Whipple's comments don't reflect the values of this institution, our athletics department or football program. Mark is disappointed in himself and understands his serious error in judgment."

On behalf of our department, I deeply apologize for the comments made by head coach Mark Whipple on Saturday after our game at Ohio," Bamford said in a statement. "His reference to rape was highly inappropriate, insensitive and inexcusable under any circumstance. Coach Whipple's comments don't reflect the values of this institution, our athletics department or football program. Mark is disappointed in himself and understands his serious error in judgment."

Whipple is in the fifth year of his second stint as UMass coach. He has also been a longtime NFL assistant coach. He is 14-40 with UMass since 2014, but from 1998-2003 he led the Minutemen to five winning seasons, including a Division I-AA national title. UMass now plays at the highest level of Division I, the Football Bowl Subdivision.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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