While the league's decision is not yet official, the NFL is prepared to send a message to Ben Roethlisberger.
The Steelers quarterback will be suspended for 4-6 games due to a violation of the league's personal conduct policy, league sources told FOXSports.com.
The punishment will essentially be a conditional suspension, based both on any new information that arises surrounding Roethlisberger and also his behavior moving forward after speaking to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last week in New York.
The suspension comes in the wake of accusations by a 20-year-old college student that the two-time Super Bowl champion sexually assaulted her in the bathroom of a Milledgeville, Ga. nightclub on March 5.
After a month-long investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, prosecutors announced April 12 that Roethlisberger, who maintained his innocence throughout, would not be charged in the case due to a lack of probable cause. Documents detailing the investigation were released shortly after the announcement.
In her statement to police, the accuser said Roethlisberger encouraged her and her friends to take shots of alcohol throughout the evening. One of Roethlisberger's bodyguards then escorted the woman into a hallway at the Capital City nightclub where he sat her on a stool and left. She said in the statement that Roethlisberger followed her down the hallway where he exposed himself.
Roethlisberger followed the woman into a bathroom in the bar, according to the documents, where she says he had sex with her against her will.
Friends of the accuser told police they pleaded with Roethlisberger's two bodyguards to let them see their friend because she was drunk and they were worried about her. Roethlisberger's bodyguards, both police officers who were off duty at the time, told investigators that they "have no memory" of meeting Roethlisberger's accuser, and said they witnessed no criminal activity.
After the accuser emerged from the bar and told her friends about the encounter, the women left. The accuser's friend, Ann Marie Lubatti "walked up to the first cop car we saw and told them what happened," she said in a statement.
That cop was Sgt. Jerry Blash, who resigned from the department on April 16. Blash, the lone officer who interviewed Roethlisberger immediately following the incident, made profane comments about the accuser, according to police documents. Blash was photographed with the quarterback earlier in the evening.
Roethlisberger is still named in a Nevada civil suit alleging that he sexually assaulted a hotel employee in Lake Tahoe. Criminal charges were not filed in connection with that case.