Update - Aug. 19, 5:40 p.m., EDT: The NCAA has declared that Rhodes may play immediately and maintain all four years of his eligibility.
Steven Rhodes joined the Marines a year after graduating high school; after serving for five years he’s now a student at Middle Tennessee State University, where he’s an aerospace major. He walked on to the school’s football team this fall. But as the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal reports, NCAA rules prohibit Rhodes from playing this year because he participated in “organized” football — recreational games — during his time in the military.
After a Middle Tennessee appeal, the NCAA ruled that Rhodes (crouched at right above) can retain all four years of his eligibility to play — but that he’ll still have to sit out this season, as he would if he were, say, transferring to MTSU from another college football program. Rather than from being in the Marines and playing intramurals during his breaks from defending the cause of justice and freedom.
After a wave of outrage swept ‘cross the mighty internet when this story broke yesterday, the NCAA said in a statement that a “final decision has not been made” on Rhodes’ case and that their judgment that Rhodes would have to sit out the season was only “an initial review.” So perhaps common sense will win out at NCAA headquarters — pictured above — after all.