After initially ruling former Middle Tennessee State football player Steven Rhodes ineligible because Rhodes played in an organized football league while serving in the United States Marine Corps, the NCAA has reversed field and declared Rhodes eligible immediately.
The NCAA’s initial ruling was technically correct in light of the current rules (Bylaw 126.96.36.199.1), but Middle Tennessee State successfully argued that an exception for members of the military, which was limited to men’s ice hockey, skiing and tennis, should have applied across the board to all sports.
With some public pressure and pressure from Middle Tennessee State’s administration (kudos to university president Dr. Sidney McPhee and athletic director Chris Massaro), the NCAA got it right. Here’s hoping the NCAA will also change its military exception to apply equally to student-athletes in all sports.
Thanks to CT Sports Law reader Brian McLaughlin for the link.