Sunday, August 25, 2013

August 25, 2013
NCAA Gets One Right?

While it has been talked about in many circles, it felt important to add another voice to the chorus of those hailing the NCAA decision to grant Steven Rhodes immediate eligibility.

For those that do not know the story, Steven Rhodes is a Marine Corps veteran who, after serving his country, decided to play football at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This seems like a fairly simple process; Rhodes met all eligibility requirements for entry and had high enough test scores to be eligible.

But there was a hang-up. Like many in the Marine Corps, Rhodes played for an intramural squad while serving. First, let me say, that these are no joke for intramural squads. When I played in 29 Palms and later in Okinawa, there were rosters littered with former college football players. One of my team mates had played at Texas A&M.

Based on Rhodes' participation with this squad, he was deemed ineligible. This is a story oddly familiar to Duck fans after a failed attempt to have Nic Purcell granted eligibility after he played in an even less organized league.

While the need to protect college football from a sort of "development" league that could conceivably allow college teams to run "scout" teams is important, it seems as if the NCAA cannot use logic when making these determinations.

When a man is serving his country as a member of any branch of the military, there needs to be consideration and understanding of what these young men are putting on the line in defense of the nation. To essentially communicate that their "service is appreciated, but you must not participate in functions that might later risk your NCAA eligibility" is short sighted at best. At worst, it is an affront to every current and former member of the United States Military.

While the decision to deny Purcell eligibility based on his play in what amounted to a very watered down version of a semi-pro team in Australia for a few games fit with the concept of what the NCAA wanted to control, this decision made no sense at any level.

In the end, the NCAA made the correct decision to grant Rhodes his immediate eligibility. The question, though, is why it even took an appeal. Did they really get it right, or did they simply recognize an egregious mistake?

My money is on the latter.

Recruiting Update

This is the slow time in recruiting for Oregon. There have been no commitments for several weeks. Nonetheless, the Ducks did get a couple of prospects to set official visit dates.

One player that is looking increasingly more likely to end up a Duck, Tony James set his official visit for his only bye week during his senior season which happens to coincide with Oregon's home game against California. This is an important visit for the Ducks who are looking to add at least one more running back to the 2014 class. It looks like the Ducks also locked up official visits for Jaylen Johnson and Layth Friekh as well.

So, while there are no commitments to report, with the season set to open in just over a week, it looks like recruiting will begin to pick up more steam very soon.

As always, stay tuned to Duck Sports Authority for all your updates.


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