NCAA: No final decision on Marine playing at MTSU - New York News

NCAA: No final decision on Marine playing at MTSU

Posted: Updated:

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — The NCAA is working with Middle Tennessee to come up with a decision on the eligibility of a freshman attempting to play college football after serving five years in the Marines.

Steven Rhodes played in a recreational league during his military service that could make him ineligible. An NCAA rule states that student-athletes who don't enroll in college within a year of graduating high school will be charged one year of eligibility for every academic year they participate in organized competition.

"The NCAA has provided an initial review of the case and will continue to work with the university," NCAA spokeswoman Stacy Osburn said. "The process is ongoing and a final decision has not yet been made."

Middle Tennessee athletic director Chris Massaro said he expects to hear something from the NCAA "in the next day or two." The AD said the attention surrounding Rhodes' case has made him more optimistic about the situation.

"I think public pressure obviously has been pretty enormous on the NCAA on this one," Massaro said. "I think they honestly are looking for a way to kind of find a common-sense solution to this and still maintain what the original integrity of the rule was. I think there are some ways for them to do this. I'm hoping we can put some closure to this."

Rhodes has at least one congressman in his corner.

U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a Republican whose district includes Murfreesboro, Monday sent a letter to NCAA President Tom Emmert in support of Rhodes.

"Mr. Rhodes has given the sacrifice of service to his country, displaying not only leadership but all of the qualities that the NCAA wants its student-athletes to emulate and represent," DesJarlais wrote. "Mr. Rhodes is seeking to be a 'walk-on' athlete, paying for his own education and working to enhance his life both academically as well as athletically. Instead of celebrating and encouraging this endeavor, the NCAA is using an obtuse interpretation of its own bylaws on an issue in which I believe this outcome was never intended to address. And while the NCAA does not necessarily owe Mr. Rhodes the opportunity to play collegiate football, his compelling story should be an inspiration and an admirable example for all of its student-athletes."

Rhodes' case was first reported by The (Murfreesboro) Daily News Journal.

By NCAA standards, Rhodes' play at the Marine base counted as "organized competition" because there were game officials, team uniforms and the score was kept.

But the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Marine sergeant said the recreational league was nothing close to organized.

"Man, it was like intramurals for us," the 24-year-old told The Daily News Journal. "There were guys out there anywhere from 18 to 40-something years old. The games were spread out. We once went six weeks between games."

The rule first took shape in 1980, when "participation in organized competition during times spent in the armed services, on official church missions or with recognized foreign aid services of the U.S. government" were exempt from limiting eligibility.

But through several revisions and branches of the rule, the clause allowing competition during military service was lost and not carried over into the current bylaws.

"We believe it just got kind of edited out without any real reason that we could find," Massaro said. "That's what we basically presented to (the NCAA). I think they're taking a look at that."

Daryl Simpson, MTSU's assistant athletic director/compliance, said he doesn't believe the NCAA ever intended to penalize military service members.

"All this is strictly because of how the bylaw is worded," he said. "In my opinion, there is no intent of anyone to not allow protection to our U.S. service members."

Middle Tennessee won a partial appeal to the NCAA last week recouping two years of eligibility for Rhodes with his recreational league spanning two academic years. But Rhodes still is appealing to play this season practicing both at tight end and defensive end.

The Blue Raiders open the season Aug. 29 by hosting Western Carolina.

___

Information from: The Daily News Journal, http://www.dnj.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Subway bedbug infestations on the rise

    Subway bedbug infestations on the rise

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:48 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:48:09 GMT
    It appears the subway bedbug problem we've been reporting is getting worse. Commuters already have to contend with sweltering platforms, scurrying rats and packed train cars, and now there's another transit woe: fear of bedbugs.
    It appears the subway bedbug problem we've been reporting is getting worse. Commuters already have to contend with sweltering platforms, scurrying rats and packed train cars, and now there's another transit woe: fear of bedbugs.
  • Hope's Land of Candy

    Hope's Land of Candy

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:26 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:26:26 GMT
    Step through the doors of Hope's Land of Candy in Island Park, Long Island and you''ll be taking a trip back in time. There's no WIFI but they do have a player piano, Victrola, and then there the candy, lot and lots of it.
    Step through the doors of Hope's Land of Candy in Island Park, Long Island and you''ll be taking a trip back in time. There's no WIFI but they do have a player piano, Victrola, and then there the candy, lot and lots of it.
  • West Indian Day Parade steps off amid shootings

    West Indian Day Parade steps off amid shootings

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:05 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:05:47 GMT
    The West Indian Day Parade is supposed to be a time of fun and excitement in celebration of Caribbean culture. However, several shootings near the parade has turned it into a day of tragedy for some.
    The West Indian Day Parade is supposed to be a time of fun and excitement in celebration of Caribbean culture. However, several shootings near the parade has turned it into a day of tragedy for some.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices