A former marine hoping to play college football this season at a Tennessee school is celebrating after receiving good news from the NCAA.
The collegiate sports governing body had initially said Steven Rhodes would have to sit out the upcoming season at MTSU. But the NCAA came under heavy criticism after it said the 24-year-old Rhodes would be penalized because he played in a military recreational football league during his time serving in the U.S. Marines.
Rhodes described the league as similar to an intramural activity, but the NCAA said it counted as an organized league since scores were kept, players wore uniforms, and officials refereed the games.
Upon further review, the NCAA now says it’s decided Rhodes can play this upcoming season at MTSU.
The school’s athletic director and president went to the football field Monday afternoon to tell Rhodes the good news. The Antioch, Tennessee native has four years of collegiate football eligibility.
We were informed this afternoon that the NCAA has granted full approval to Steven Rhodes' waiver," MTSU president Dr. Sidney McPhee said in a statement. "This is exciting news for Steven and Middle Tennessee State University. We express our gratitude to the NCAA for reviewing this situation and granting Steven the ability to play this fall. We are hopeful that the NCAA will look at the bylaws regarding all individuals who serve in the military before becoming a student-athlete."