Indiana University true freshman Bryant Fitzgerald has been ruled a final non-qualifier, making him ineligible for the upcoming football season and unable to practice with the team, according to the INDYSTAR.
In a press statement, the school publicly declared that the ineligibility was “caused by a mistake by the Office of Compliance Services of the Indiana University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, which inaccurately advised him regarding his eligibility requirements.”
The release clears Fitzgerald of any responsibility, saying, “Had that mistake not occurred, Fitzgerald would have had ample time and opportunity to establish his eligibility. This was a mistake by the department, not Fitzgerald and not the football program.”
Earlier this month, the university filed a waiver with the NCAA, requesting that Fitzgerald’s eligibility be restored — the request was rejected Monday, and a subsequent appeal was denied Friday.
IU athletic director Fred Glass added his apology to the public statement. “On behalf of myself and everyone associated with IU Athletics, I personally apologize to Bryant and his family for our mistake,” he said. “While it was an isolated and unintended one, it is no less devastating to Bryant, and I could not feel worse about it.”
Glass further expressed his disappointment in the actions of the NCAA, saying, “Bryant should not have to bear the brunt of our mistake, and the NCAA could have, and should have, remedied that in the interest of this student’s well-being, who is in this situation through absolutely no fault of his own.”
Fitzgerald will retain all other benefits of his scholarship, and his eligibility at IU can be restored during his time there pending the remediation of compliance miscalculations.