It may have taken a couple of days, but the NCAA eventually got it right.
After declaring former Marine Steven Rhodes ineligible to play football at Middle Tennessee State University because of his participation in a military-only recreational football league last year, the NCAA reversed their ruling Monday afternoon and cleared him to return to practice.
“As a part of its continued review of Steven Rhodes’ eligibility, NCAA staff determined he may play immediately,” Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs, said in a statement. “Additionally, he will maintain all four years of his eligibility.
“Throughout this process, NCAA staff worked closely with Middle Tennessee State University, and we appreciate the school’s partnership. As a part of the ongoing review of NCAA rules, our members will examine the organized competition rules, especially as it impacts those returning from military service. We thank Steven for his service to our country and wish him the best as he begins college.”
The 24-year-old made the team as a walk-on after spending five years in the Marine Corps, where he played in a league that he compared to intramurals. The NCAA, however, considered it “organized competition” and originally required Rhodes to sit out a mandatory redshirt year.
The Blue Raiders will open their season against Western Carolina on Aug. 29, and Rhodes will rightfully be suiting up for MTSU.
Photo via Twitter/@JeffersonObama