The Reinstatement Committee can take Ben Mauk's eligibility, but it can never have his spirit

So, the NCAA Student Athlete Reinstatement Committee thinks it's finally ridded itself of Ben Mauk, does it?

Ben Mauk learned today that his request for a sixth year to complete his four years of college eligibility has been rejected by the NCAA for the fifth time overall and the third time within the last 26 days. This time it was the Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee that rejected the former University of Cincinnati quarterback’s appeal after allowing Mauk to plead his case last Thursday in a teleconference. It’s the second time the committee has ruled against Mauk, who has now exhausted his avenues for appeal within the NCAA.

You may have won this round, NCAA, and each of the five rounds before that, but lest you think your arbitrary "process" means this is over, know that the spirit of the gridiron that dwells within Ben Mauk knows no bureaucratic bounds. His passion for the game only grows with each denial. In his heart, he is eligible, eligible with every fiber of his being, and if the Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee can take him off the field, it cannot take what's inside a man.

One way or another, the sixth year will be his. One day, some distant day in the future when the NCAA least expects it, when it's playing with its grandchildren, the spirit of Ben Mauk's eligibility will come for what it's owed. The Association won't know when, or where, or how, only that Mauk's eligibility will not be sated until it has exacted its stolen season in equal parts terror and flesh.

Only then, when the NCAA feels the same injustice and loss it has inflicted, can Mauk's eligibility feel it has run its true course, fulfilled its destiny and, content that its mission is satisfied, finally expire.

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Photo of Mauk via the Associated Press