LANDOVER MD - SEPTEMBER 06: Running back #6 D.J. Harper of the Boise State Broncos runs for a touchdown as safety #2 Davon Morgan of the Virginia Tech Hokies chases at FedExField on September 6 2010 in Landover Maryland. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
We interrupt today's National Signing Day coverage to crib about the N.C.A.A. ...
A few week ago when the NCAA rejected BC's appeal for a sixth year of eligibility for Boston College WR Ifeanyi Momah, Superfans were understandably peeved at the NCAA's seemingly arbitrary decision. The NCAA generally gives athletes five years to complete four years of competition, but exceptions can be granted to compete for a sixth season. The NCAA had proven rather generous in granting a sixth year of eligibility in the past, including granting a sixth year to Houston's Case Keenum and Purdue's Robert Marve earlier this year.
So why the about-face in Momah's case?
Several readers pointed out that what seemed different in both Keenum and Marve's cases was the timing. Both Keenum and Marve had redshirted as freshmen before their careers started, while Momah had played as a true freshman, missed the entire 2009 season due to injury and applied for a second medical redshirt in 2011, having missed the entire 2009 season due to injury.
Get this. Harper has played in EACH of the last five seasons, but he played in just three games during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Both seasons were cut short by ACL injuries to the same knee. Last season, Harper rushed for 557 yards and 9 TDs on 115 carries for the Broncos. He's the projected starter in Boise State's backfield next season.
So injuries cut two of Harper's seasons short, where he played in a total of six games. In contrast, injuries also cut two of Momah's seasons short. He played in all of one game for the Eagles over the 2009 and 2011 seasons, catching 8 balls for 157 yards in the season opener against Northwestern.
How is Harper's case any different from Momah's? What is going on here?
I have no problem with the NCAA if they are consistent in their granting of medical hardship waivers and a sixth year of eligibility. However, I fail to see how Momah's request is any different from Harper's. If anything, the fact that Harper played in one more season than Momah and five more games would suggest that Momah deserves a sixth year as much as, if not more than Harper.
Fix this, NCAA.