Marine appealing for NCAA eligibility
A MIDDLE Tennessee freshman who finished 5 years of active service in the Marines this summer is appealing an NCAA rule preventing him from playing this season because he played in a recreational league in the military.
According to The Daily News Journal, the rule essentially says student-athletes who do not enroll in college within a year of graduating high school will be charged 1 year of collegiate eligibility for every academic year they participate in organized competition. By NCAA standards, Steven Rhodes' play at the Marine base counted as "organized competition" because there were game officials, team uniforms and the score was kept.
But the 6-3, 240-pound Marine sergeant said the recreational league was nothing close to organized. "Man, it was like intramurals for us," said the 24-year-old. "There were guys out there anywhere from 18 to 40-something years old. The games were spread out. We once went 6 weeks between games."
Middle Tennessee won a partial appeal to the NCAA last week recouping 2 years of eligibility for Rhodes with his recreational league spanning two academic years. But Rhodes still is appealing to play this season.
In other college football news:
* Alabama cornerback Geno Smith has been charged with driving under the influence. The Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Department's online records show the sophomore for the No. 1 Crimson Tide was arrested yesterday and jailed on $1,000 bond.
* Rafael Nadal took advantage of the few openings he got against John Isner, grinding out a 7-6 (8), 7-6 (3) win at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati that added yet another title to his sensational summer. No. 1 Serena Williams, like Nadal, was trying for her second championship in 2 weeks, fresh off her championship in Toronto. She dominated the first set, then fell apart, giving No. 2 Victoria Azarenka a chance to rally for a 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (6) win that ended Williams' 14-match winning streak.
* The University of Pennsylvania announced the death of former basketball player Joe Sturgis, who died Aug. 13. The former hoops standout, who graduated Penn in 1956, is a member of both the Penn Athletics and Philadelphia Big 5 Halls of Fame.
Nearly 60 years after his graduation from Penn, Sturgis remains 17th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,292 points. Sturgis' 17.5 points-per-game average for his career remains fifth all-time. In addition, Sturgis is still second all-time with 628 career free-throw attempts, third with 426 career free throws made, and third with 924 career rebounds.
* Sam Mikulak ran away with the U.S. men's gymnastics championship, winning the all-around title over Alex Naddour. The two-time NCAA champion at Michigan put together a 2-day total of 181.400, a whopping 2.9 points ahead of Naddour.