Former Marine wins appeal of NCAA ruling on football eligibility

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A Middle Tennessee State freshman who finished five years of active service in the Marines this summer has won his appeal of an NCAA rule preventing him from playing football this season.

The NCAA had originally ruled Steven Rhodes ineligible because he played in a recreational league in the military.

The rule essentially says student-athletes that do not enroll in college within a year of their high school graduation will be charged one year of intercollegiate eligibility for every academic year they participate in organized competition.

By NCAA standards, play at the Marine base counted as "organized competition" because there were game officials, team uniforms and the score was kept.

Monday, the NCAA reversed its ruling and Rhodes will be allowed to compete this fall, and he will have four years of eligibility remaining.

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