On Wednesday, I drew the obvious parallels between Oklahoma's Mike Balogun, who just launched a lawsuit against the NCAA to maintain his final year of eligibility with the Sooners, and Florida State's Corey Surrency, who was declared ineligible under similar circumstances in April. Both players skipped the usual recruitment process as teenagers, played briefly in approved "developmental" leagues for little to no pay, eventually enrolled in junior college and earned scholarships with major programs. Both were on track for degrees until the NCAA descended with an obscure rule that stripped them of their senior seasons because their semipro stints – otherwise acceptable – extended past their 21st birthdays.
Apparently Florida State noticed the similarities, too, according to the Oklahoman, because it was the ‘Noles who ratted Balogun out:
Court documents obtained by The Oklahoman from Balogun’s lawsuit against the NCAA allege that comments made by the FOX TV announcers immediately after that play [a tackle in the BCS Championship game vs. Florida] ultimately sparked the NCAA’s inquiry into Balogun’s past.
"He played a little semi-pro ball, the Prince George Jets, the Maryland Marauders, before he went to Lackawanna," color commentator Charles Davis pointed out during the telecast.
According to court records, the day after watching the title game and hearing Davis' remarks about Balogun’s semi-pro past, an official from Florida State’s compliance office contacted the Big 12 Conference and suggested the league investigate Balogun’s eligibility.
When I read the headline, I assumed it was just a matter of Florida State pointing out Balogun as a precedent, to argue on Surrency’s behalf: "If he can do it, why can't we?" But apparently not; apparently, FSU went after another team's player – a team it doesn't even play (Balogun will be long gone no matter what when FSU and OU hook up in 2010-11) – out of something like pure spite. Law-abiding spite, but spite nonetheless. Even if they couldn't keep their own guy from getting the ax, you have to respect the pure mercenary venom in that compliance department, if nothing else. That is cold, 'Noles.
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Hat tip: Tim Griffin.