Posted August 18, 2013

NCAA rules former Marine ineligible because he played rec league football

NCAAF
(Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The Middle Tennessee State football team is hoping to push the NCAA to make ex-Marine Steven Rhodes eligible. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

After completing five years of service in the Marines this summer, 24-year-old Steven Rhodes is attempting to walk on to the Middle  Tennessee State University football team as a freshman.

But the NCAA has ruled him ineligible to play this year because of his participation in a military-only recreational football league in 2012.

Bylaw 14.2.3.2.1. states that “student-athletes that do not enroll in college within a year of their high school graduation will be charged one year of intercollegiate eligibility for every academic year they participate in organized competition,” according to The Daily News Journal‘s Adam Sparks.

Rhodes’ rec league games count as “organized competition” because they used officials and team uniforms and kept score.

From DNJ.com:

Rhodes was shocked by the news. He knew what that recreational league was. It was not pay-for-play. It was not highly competitive. It was not even well organized.“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.”

MTSU won a partial appeal last week that reduced Rhodes ineligibility time from two years — because his rec league season spanned two academic years — to one, and is “reloading its argument” in an attempt to allow Rhodes to play this season.

The school is asking the NCAA to change the rule, arguing that after several revisions over the past several decades, the clause allowing competition during military service was not carried over, according to assistant athletic director/compliance David Simpson.

“It’s nobody’s fault,” Simpson said. “There were unintended consequences of forgetting that clause over time.”

“We’re just saying (to the NCAA), ‘Hey, you forgot this clause,’” Simpson said.

MANDEL: Revenge of the Nerds: How the ‘smart schools’ got good at football


33 comments
TimHarb
TimHarb

I say it is time to go after the NCAA for this.  He was military enlisted and serving.  This alone could get the NCAA into trouble.

HokieDoke
HokieDoke

It's funny to think that Mr. Rhodes is ineligible and Johnny Manziel is not.  

Ciscos
Ciscos

This is right from the show "When Bad Rules Attack"...   Seriously, when Mark Emmeritt talks about transforming how the NCAA does business, then it needs to start here.  What a complete farce.

It's 2013 NCAA, time to ditch the 1930 Rule Book.

mystafugee
mystafugee

I love how some of you act like the NCAA is some separate entity from the colleges.  It's like the same people who act like the government is totally different from the people.  The schools put the NCAA in place and that includes the rules.  

CoachParedez
CoachParedez

The NCAA should be embarrassed! We can let this guy fight and protect our country. But we won't allow him to be eligible. It's one thing if this Military Rec League was sanctioned by the NCAA. But it wasn't. It's like they're the real life Enemy of the State. 

DSM
DSM

When you think NCAA has reached rock bottom of ignoring big issues and getting tough over trivia, they bring in a steam shovel and continue to dig.

LarryFiehn
LarryFiehn

Time to take intercollegiate athletics out of the hands of the NCAA.

John NoLastName
John NoLastName

Calm down, people. Get control of that kneejerk. 

This was not necessarily a bad rule ... it had its place and its intent was to keep the playing field level for everybody. The fact that it's clearly improper in this case is no reason for everybody to go all batsh*t. From all appearances, the school is working with the NCAA to resolve the situation and reduce the inequity to this player, which so far they've partly done. 

It isn't necessary to throw out the rule or the NCAA. It's just necessary to fine-tune the circumstances under which the rule is applied.

Cool
Cool

So Johnny football will be playing and this marine won't?  I guess they don't plan on him making them any money.  Time to overhaul the NCAA from top to bottom, and hopefully the top will be filled with competent, intelligent men and women, and not the dollar signs in their eyes group we have now. 

yehonala04
yehonala04

So the NCAA was not aware of the effect of 9/11 on the country ? That some one who has CHOSEN to serve his country is punished for that service is so ludicrous as to stagger  all concepts of reality. But ; it is the NCAA . 

RobInBoston
RobInBoston

Just one more reason to hate the NCAA

CoryDowns
CoryDowns

PLEASE, lawmakers, congressmen and senators, it is time to put together legislation to rip the power away from the NCAA! They wash there rules over all collegiate athletes as if there are no special circumstances!  This kid was serving the country in a war and you won't let him walk on. Shame on the NCAA, and on all of us for not doing anything about it.

lassenlou
lassenlou

Once again the suits that rip off athletes proves beyond a doubt that they are complete and perfect fools. I know, nobody is perfect, but these dolts come as close as possible.  

rbilas
rbilas

Morons run the NCAA.  They don't think.  They just act stupidly.  Bye Bye NCAA.  You guys and gals have no idea what the real world is all about.

JimKirkwood1
JimKirkwood1

Everything the NCAA has done recently has made them look worse than the day before. Blow the organization up. Separate football and men's basketball at major schools (athletically speaking) from other sports and start over

hardinjw
hardinjw

No wonder the NCAA is so far behind in the U Miami and Johnny Football investigations. They're busy making up and enforcing dumbazz rules like this one. Sheesh...time to get rid of that bunch of doofuses.

tahoe967
tahoe967

There is no such thing as an ex-Marine. There are Marines and former Marines and retired Marines! No ex!

SpenceThompson
SpenceThompson

maybe the marines should attack ncaa headquarters?

Ciscos
Ciscos

@mystafugee ~ We could debate the finer points of that position for the next 365 days and it wouldn't - in no way shape or form - justify denying this player.  The problem is a lot of the NCAA's rules are built on arcane 1940's ideology.   Kind of like Microsoft putting new clothes on DOS.  It's still DOS underneath and herein lies the problem.

The NCAA needs to spend six months reviewing it's rule book and updating or deleting old rules that no longer apply or are overly burdensome. 


John4
John4

@CoachParedez So all former Marines should be eligible to play football after they leave active duty?

Cool
Cool

It's called common sense, and the NCAA has not shown an ability to apply common sense in it's rulings.  They are perfectly happy going after smaller institutes that have no representation on the NCAA, and drag their feet on the larger ones.  If any one of the fools on the committee had served in the military they would know how stupid they are being.  It is sad that they only decided to review their decision after the uproar.  

Wesley7
Wesley7

@Cool  

Johnny Football still has not been proven to have violated any rule and this Marine has, so let's table the false umbrage and smug righteousness. Manziel may yet be ruled ineligible, and this guy may be given a pass since MTSU is following prescribed procedure to appeal and follow-up with the NCAA. But let's not compare two difference situations as if they were equal just to have an excuse to climb atop our soapboxes and preach how morally superior the decision we would have made would have been.

Wesley7
Wesley7

@yehonala04 

???

What does 9/11 have to do with whether or not this guy participated in an organized sports league or not, again?

mystafugee
mystafugee

@yehonala04 Yes, I'm reminded of it every time I take a flight.  BTW....too bad the NRA didn't represent terrorists, we'd probably have no airport restrictions.  

John4
John4

@tahoe967 I've known a few ex Marines.  On the payroll as Civilians at Camp Pendleton.  Retards.  

Craig
Craig

@Ciscos @mystafugee While I agree, I'm going to disagree.  What the NCAA needs to do is completely chuck the entire rulebook.

The process, in my mind, should look like this.  Take a bunch of people...a dozen or so most likely...who have nothing whatsoever to do with the NCAA, college sports in general, or anything else remotely related.  The only requirement should be that they are reasonably intelligent and open to discussion/debate.   Then...get the NCAA leadership (an oxymoron of the first rank, but you'll get the idea) and tell them to explain the goals of the rules.  Don't talk about "quiet periods" or "extra benefits" or anything else that exists now.  All I'd want to hear is "what is the goal of the rules?"  I'm guessing it's pretty simple...such as...ensure that all potential athletes have a fair and equal chance to participate.  Create a level playing field as much as possible.

Now, put the smart folks in a room somewhere, and let them go at it.  Let them discuss how best to allow HS players to enjoy their time in HS without completely inundating them with unwanted junk.  Do they get free visits?  How many?  When?  Can they cut off receiving stuff?  Can they talk to coaches without parents/guardians present?  Who can talk to who?  What about "boosters" and "agents" and all those other busy-bodies?

I'm betting when they're done discussing, we'd have a set of rules that are clean, clear-cut, and  not remotely confusing.  I'm also betting we'd have a better system (how could it possibly be worse?).  I'm also betting it would look more like a criminal code, in that transgressions would be weighted right up front...i.e. this is a misdemeanor and you lose 1 scholarship; this is a felony and you're not bowl eligible until 2613.

The problem is that the old rules are a mess, so trying to tweak them simply doesn't produce anything but more mess.  If you include "the usual suspects" in the discussion you'll just have more mess....and people lobbying to create special holes.  Sounds a lot like Congress, even in their good days.

Cool
Cool

@Wesley7 @Cool If it walks like a duck, swims like a duck, quacks like a duck, you will have to excuse me for calling it a DUCK.  I don't give a damn if Johnny football got money, but the truth still remains, just like this marine he broke the rules.  If you are too blind to accept facts then it is your problem and I don't need you trying to use some technicality to preach to me.  I take it that since you have the Lone Star avatar you are an A&M fan, so I will give you a little slack for being overly protective.  The other fact that still remains is that the NCAA will be slow.. perhaps after the season is over... in order to collect more money off the Johnny football fever. I don't claim moral superiority, but I do claim to have morals, and the NCAA has not shown any use of morals in this situation.  It is only after an uproar that they have come out and said.. well it's not official.  

Mel
Mel

@John4 Dumbass. He meant they are still Marines in spirit. But obviously you are rather dense and that went right over your head.

Ciscos
Ciscos

@Craig~ "... What the NCAA needs to do is completely chuck the entire rulebook...." <- That's an even better idea!

John4
John4

@Mel No, it did not go right over my head.  I know the idiotic expression "Once a Marine, always a Marine".  Of course it's not true, or possible.  They're not a Marine in spirit, or any other way. They're just old Former Marines who find the need to constantly re-live their "glory days".  Life goes on, but FORMER Marines are trained to do VERY VERY little in the real world after they stop being Marines.  I know, I had the displeasure of working with them.  They're retards.