NCAA Reaches new low: Kicks ex-marine off MTSU Football team

Submitted by Fhshockey112002 on August 18th, 2013 at 6:36 PM

Since Steven Rhodes participated in "Organized football games" while being deployed with other marines (aging from 18-40) the NCAA has ruled him inelgibile.  MTSU is appealing this ruling, and if there is any good left in the NCAA they better let this guy play.…



August 19th, 2013 at 2:48 PM ^

81% of their revenue comes from television rights (of which almost all is MBB and a little cut from WBB), most of the rest comes from tickets to championship events (again mostly MBB) and a couple percent from random sources.

That's why we have a "BCS Championship" and not an "NCAA Championship" like in every other sponsored sport.


August 18th, 2013 at 7:31 PM ^

I think it's more likely that the big schools will stage a coup and completely redo the governing structure of college athletics. The Big 5/6 conferences splitting off works fine for football but what about every other sport? Even though there are the Indiana State's of the world to annoy us from time to time, we still like to compete against those schools. Heck, we're in conferences with a few of them (Water Polo, Lacrosse, formerly Hockey).


August 18th, 2013 at 6:45 PM ^

There is no such thing as an ex-Marine. The term is former Marine or non practicing Marine ( if you're not into the whole brevity thing). Also this is terrible. The NCAA needs to get their collective heads out of their asses.


August 18th, 2013 at 7:34 PM ^

I thought those who were dishonorably discharged or received a bad conduct discharge should be called ex-marines.  In this particular case, it is still an innapropriate term.  "Veteran Marine" would also be appropriate for Rhodes, I think.  Or, just, "Marine."


August 18th, 2013 at 6:48 PM ^

the guy should just hawk autographs, sell merchandise, or violate any one of the "other rules" which seem to have no teeth...because God forbid you serve your country then think you are allowed to play football afterwords.


August 18th, 2013 at 6:53 PM ^

"Organized competition" is defined in Bylaw14.02.9, which is referenced in, and here is what it says. It is important to note just how broad this is really, I think:

14.02.9 Organized Competition. Athletics competition shall be considered organized if any of the following conditions exists: (Revised: 4/29/10)

(a) Competition is scheduled and publicized in advance;

(b) Official score is kept;

(c) Individual or team standings are maintained;

(d) Official timer or game officials are used;

(e) Admission is charged;

(f) Teams are regularly formed or team rosters are predetermined;

(g) Team uniforms are used;

(h) A team is privately or commercially sponsored; or

(i) The competition is either directly or indirectly sponsored, promoted or administered by an individual, an organization or any other agency.


August 18th, 2013 at 7:17 PM ^

Who is the NCAA? Well, it is an organization composed of member schools from Division III through Division 1. They voluntarily commit themselves to the uniform goals, aims and bylaws of an organization whose practices they support without question. The operation of which is dictated, controlled and enforced by well-paid  employees who are no different than those people who run home owner orginizations and whose bylaws and activities wind up sending thousands to court each year in stupid lawsuits over trivial pursuits and costing millions in foreclosure actions and maintaining the peace, with people then wondering how this happened. It happened because it was structured to work as it does. 

The NCAA is composed of its member schhools. And the actions that it takes are a reflection of its membership. You want to blame someone, blame them. They created the environment that exists. And they can change it. 

It's just like our government and Congress. You don't like it, do something to change it. Implying that this is some alien force that wedged its way into the universe and is now enforcing some stupid authority based on foreign takeover is ridiculous. 

The membership is responsible for the action of its enforcement  staff and the rules they govern and the work they perform. And if they don't like it, they have the power and control to change it. They are in charge. And by claiming otherwise, they simply ignore the reality of their own responsibility.  

San Diego Mick

August 18th, 2013 at 7:30 PM ^

what a corrupt organization and a hypocratic one too. I'm still pissed off that we got sanctions for over-practicing while ohio gets away with the BS they pulled, they don't seem to have suffered at all from what they did, except for self sanctioning the one year bowl ban.


August 18th, 2013 at 7:32 PM ^

Once they're done cleaning up the MTSU program and is deplorable use of former Marines/"ringers", they'll undoubtedly turn their attention to the SEC's SEC-ness, concussion issues, corrupt ADs, and the rest of the ills.  But you have to pick the most important issue first, you know?



August 18th, 2013 at 7:34 PM ^

This ain't 'Nam.  There are rules.

All kidding aside, the NCAA is applying their rules.  There's an appeal and I bet the NCAA lets him play.  Will we all think the NCAA is the worst thing ever when they bend their rules to allow this man to play?

Blue in Yarmouth

August 21st, 2013 at 8:23 AM ^

personally I would think that before they made the decision the burden of proof would be on the NCAA. After all, they didn't just go to the guy and say: We think you may not be eligible to play football under our current rules, could you put our minds at ease and explain the following? 

They have already ruled him to be ineligible so they must feel they have met the burden of proof. It isn't a persons job to prove they haven't done something wrong, it's a governing bodies job to prove that they have and then the person defends themselves. 


August 18th, 2013 at 7:47 PM ^

In fact, if you take a look at the section posted by LSAClassOf2000, I suspect every one of those applies to high school football. I don't know if admission is charged for any Marine events, but I know for a fact that admission is charged for high school games.

Edit: and... along comes the answer as I was typing. That is a horse of a different color altogether.


August 18th, 2013 at 7:49 PM ^

I personally will still have a problem with it. By enforcing this stupid rule against him they are treating him as if he has commited some sort of infraction or wrongdoing. Then if he begs and claims some loophole maybe the all powerfull NCAA will grant him the privilege of playing football. They should be thanking him for his service not taking away a year of his eligibility and making him beg for it back. Just because eventually maybe they will get it right doesn't mean their actions are correct.


August 18th, 2013 at 7:42 PM ^

Comment from reddit :

Former NCAA compliance officer here. Thought I'd explain where this ruling is coming from and why his waiver will be granted.

First, from the article: "...graduated from Antioch High School in 2007, worked at the Nissan plant in Smyrna for a year and then joined the Marine Corps in August 2008..." This one small part of a tiny paragraph to give background on the player is actually the crux of the NCAA's ruling. It has NOTHING to do with his intramural activity and even less to do with his service to our country.

The rule in question is Bylaw in question is, which I will summarize for you because it is lengthy: A student must enroll at an institution within 1 year after graduating high school. The legislative intent of this rule is to prevent unfair competition by having guys out there that purposefully wait to enroll to gain muscle/age/ability. Think about the size that many student-athletes realize in their first year of football and imagine if they took a year on a regimented training program and still maintained eligibility.

Now, you say, "Hold on a second, smart guy! What about guys like Brandon Weeden, Russell Wilson, Chris Weinke or Ben Olson?" Well, the NCAA has exceptions that allow for kids to follow certain paths in life prior to competition in a specific sport. Most of us have heard of those first 3 names (they all played minor league baseball), but the 4th is the best example of this exception. Ben Olson, if you may remember, was a top QB recruit that decided to go on his mission after starting his career at BYU. Normally, this would halt the 5-year "ticking clock" rule for eligibility. Surprise! The NCAA exempts time spent on religious missions, foreign aid services, and military armed services. To prove I'm not lying...

" Service Exceptions to the Five-Year Rule: Time spent in the armed services, on official religious missions or with recognized foreign aid services of the U.S. government is excepted from the application of the five-year rule."

As a side note before we move forward, it's important to note that intramural sports are never counted towards eligibility. The NCAA sees those as purely recreational unless you doctor them somehow to replicate time in season or profit off the activities.

Pulling this altogether, if you made it this far, we get that the reason Mr. Rhodes is required to sit a year is because he waited over a year to join the Marines. Let's say he graduated in May of 2007. That means from May 2008 - August 2008 his clock started to tick. It's clearly unfortunate and the NCAA will surely remedy the situation with MTSU, but I figured I would at least attempt to explain what was going on better than the article did.

Bottom line: yes, the NCAA has flaws, but it also has purpose behind them. They aren't fair in many cases. The application of many rules are to prevent an unfair playing field. I'm not saying that I necessarily agree with all the NCAA has put forth. I just apply the laws as they're written and intended. Mr. Rhodes will get his eligibility and his justice.


August 19th, 2013 at 8:34 AM ^

While the basic "NCAA SUX!!!" reaction and ensuing backlash from these types of non-sensical occurences probably does some good, I do think it is important to remembr that the NCAA is an organization created and given power by the Universities that are it's members. Sure the organization itself deserves a large share of the blame, but I think we tend to give the university presidents a free pass on this. They have the power to change things but they just sit around and watch it all happen without taking any type of active roll in fixing it.             

Come On Down

August 19th, 2013 at 9:01 AM ^

The comment basically says that Rhodes was told he needs to sit a year because he took a year off between high school and enlisting in the armed services, not because he played IM football while enlisted.

Avon Barksdale

August 18th, 2013 at 8:19 PM ^

I didn't mean to "reply" to your comment, but the thread as a whole. Miscommunication, but I do think the NCAA will see a pretty big fight coming. People assume MTSU is just some small school in the middle of nowhere with no leg to stand on.

Nope, it's the largest undergrad institution in TN with 30,000 students. I would think some alumni in the TN legislative body 30 miles up the road may have something to say about this.