A Middle Tennessee freshman who finished five years of active service in the Marines this summer is appealing an NCAA rule preventing him from playing this season because he played in a recreational league in the military.
According to The Daily News Journal, the rule essentially says student-athletes that do not enroll in college within a year of graduating high school will be charged one year of collegiate eligibility for every academic year they participate in organized competition.
By NCAA standards, Steven Rhodes’ play at the Marine base counted as “organized competition” because there were game officials, team uniforms and the score was kept.
But the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Marine sergeant said the recreational league was nothing close to organized.
“Man, it was like intramurals for us,” said the 24-year-old. “There were guys out there anywhere from 18 to 40-something years old. The games were spread out. We once went six weeks between games.”
If you let former Marines play college football after participating in glorified scrimmages, the next thing you know schools will be making hundreds of millions of dollars off the game, turning the snow-white purity of the NCAA into an exploitative system that makes a mockery of amateur athletics. And we can’t have that.