The NCAA is reconsidering its plan to sideline a former Marine who was told he could not play college football because he participated in the military's recreational games.
Stephen Rhodes thought his chance of playing for Middle Tennessee State University was gone for good when the organization that oversees college sports told him he was not eligible to play his freshman year.
But now it is taking a second look at its decision following widespread outrage.
"The NCAA has provided an initial review of the case and will continue to work with the university. The process is ongoing and a final decision has not yet been made," spokesperson Stacey Osborn said in a statement
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Rhodes situation was reported Sunday by the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal
, and detailed the 24-year-old's military service and dreams of playing college football.
Rhodes was not informed of the NCAA's intention to prevent him from playing as a tight end and defensive end for the Blue Raiders until he arrived on campus.
"This is extremely frustrating. I think it’s unfair, highly unfair," Rhodes said.
"I just got out of the Marine Corps, and I wanted to play. For (the NCAA) to say, ‘No, you can’t play right now,’ I just don’t understand the logic in that," Rhodes said.
The military football games were recreational, with players ranging in age of 18 to 40, and played on an irregular basis, Rhodes said.
"Man, it was like intramurals for us," Rhodes said. "We once went six weeks between games."
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