NCAA bans incoming Bowling Green defenseman Freibergs 33 games

Incoming Bowling Green freshman defenseman Ralfs Freibergs has been suspended for 33 games by the NCAA for playing in a professional league prior to coming to the United States to play junior hockey in the USHL and NAHL, according to a report in the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune.

The Latvian-born Freibergs played with the Latvian World Junior team in 2009 and 2010 and to prepare for the event, Latvian officials arranged for the junior team play in a professional league in Latvia.

The NCAA suspended Freibergs one game for each game he played in the Latvian pro league.

“Ultimately, anything professional, when it comes to the NCAA, is something that will have penalties with it,” BGSU coach Chris Bergeron told the paper. “We knew, as a program, as a staff, this was a possibility. It’s not something out of left field.”

Freibergs will be eligible to play three games during the regular season and can still can practice and participate in team activities. Freibergs and his family are trying to get the suspension reduced, according to the story, and he could also redshirt the season and keep all four years of eligibility.

“He’s still coming to Bowling Green,” Bergeron added. “He’s told us he’s committed to coming here and he’ll be a part of international student orientation here in a couple of weeks.”