Steven Rhodes spent the last five years in the United States Marine Corps. After finishing his active service this summer, Rhodes contacted the coaches at Middle Tennessee State University, hoping to earn a spot on the football team. The coaches were thrilled to invite the 6’3″, 240-pound sergeant to walk-on and he has played tight end and defensive end during camp. Now if only the NCAA would let him play this season. Right now, they say he can’t because of some rec league football he played during his time in the Marines. From dnj.com:
“Man, it was like intramurals for us. There were guys out there anywhere from 18 to 40-something years old,” said Rhodes, chuckling and shaking his head. “The games were spread out. We once went six weeks between games.”
Just like the BCS National Championship Game. You can see why the NCAA thinks this is similar to collegiate football. Rhodes wife, a fellow Marine, is also confused.
“Those games were something they did in their spare time on the same base. They were games against different shops — you know, like the air traffic controllers against the mechanics. It was so disorganized. I couldn’t believe that was an issue.”
The good news is that NCAA has already relented on part of the ruling.
By current NCAA rule, Rhodes would have to sit out this season and forfeit two years of eligibility because his recreational league season spanned two academic years (two games were played in the winter and as many as 10 more games in the summer and fall of 2012).
Last week, MTSU won a partial appeal to the NCAA to recoup those two years of eligibility (giving Rhodes four total seasons of eligibility), but he still must sit out this season. MTSU’s athletic compliance office is now reloading its argument in hopes of also gaining Rhodes’ immediate eligibility due to his unique situation.
If the NCAA has any sense of right and wrong, they’ll let Rhodes play. He probably won’t get to play.