Steven Rhodes served five years as an active-duty Marine at MCAS Miramar, where he played about a dozen football games with fellow Marines. Now a freshman at Middle Tennessee State University, an obscure NCAA rule is keeping Rhodes from playing for his college team.
Rhodes, 24, expressed his disappointment to The Daily News Journal:
“This is extremely frustrating. I think it’s unfair, highly unfair. 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.”
NFL.com reports the NCAA rule causing all the trouble states that "student-athletes who do not enroll in college within a year of high school graduation lose a year of eligibility for every academic year they participate on an organized team."
However, the "team" the NCAA is using against Rhodes was a group of loosely organized Marines playing for fun and stress-relief.
Rhodes's wife Adrienne, a Naval Aviation Ordnanceman based at MCAS Miramar, describes the games her husband played when he was stationed at Miramar this way:
"Those games were something they did in their spare time on the same base. They were games against different shops -- you know, like the air traffic controllers against the mechanics. It was so disorganized. I couldn't believe that was an issue."
In response to the kerfuffle raised by the The Daily News Journal article, the NCAA has agreed to review Rhodes's case. USA Today reports a NCAA statement released late Sunday night reads:
"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."
Do you think Rhodes should be allowed to play on his college football team this year? Have your say in our comments section!