[size=13pt]A seldom-used regulation cuts short the college career of Florida State's Corey Surrency.[/size]
Corey Surrency played a prominent role in the analysis. Surrency was only an occasional player in FSU's offense in his first year out of El Camino (Calif.) Community College, but he did average almost 20 yards with four touchdowns on just 12 catches, flashing some of the talent that made him one of the most sought-after JUCO transfers in the country. His size, speed and hype make him an obvious candidate for a senior breakout this fall.
Talent notwithstanding, that fate hasn't always been a foregone conclusion: Surrency, 24, grew up in rough part of Miami, dropped out of school in ninth grade and later spent 90 days in jail for what the Orlando Sentinel describes as "various crimes," including felonies. After prison, Surrency earned his diploma, played a season with a "minor league" team, Tampa's Florida Kings of the Southeast Football League, and eventually headed cross-country to El Camino, where he caught on and earned scholarship offers from all over the country. Whether or not he makes any more waves on the field, that's a success story -- or it was, until, as the Sentinel reports today, the narrative met one of the more obscure corners of the NCAA rulebook:
The rule is No. 18.104.22.168 in the NCAA Division I Manuel [sic]. It is titled, "Participation After 21st Birthday," and it mandates the following: If an individual participates in an organized sport after his 21st birthday, but before enrolling in college, that participation "shall count as one year of varsity competition in that sport."
Surrency played with the Kings after he had turned 21. Had he not, he might never have had the chance to go to college. Regardless, though, his time with the Kings has cost him his final year of eligibility â€” at least for now. Florida State is appealing on Surrency's behalf.
If FSU loses the appeal, Surrency's college football career would be over. It's likely, too, that [with the loss of his athletic scholarship] his pursuit of earning a degree in criminal justice â€” Surrency would become the first member of his family to earn a college degree â€” would also be over.
The rule, said NCAA spokesman Jennifer Kearns, is designed to "to minimize competitive advantage" by ensuring a "normal progression" through high school and the entry to college. Surrency, because his high school career was interrupted, got into the system too late.