If you can't stand to read one more sentence with the words "Oregon football," "NCAA" and "recruit" in it, then perhaps you might want to skip this article. But you really need to hear the strange case of New Zealand native and offensive lineman Nic Purcell.
Purcell has been in the United States for two years and has played one year of football at Golden West Community College in Huntington Beach, Calif. He had never played football before this past year—or, at least, that's what he thinks.
According to Scout.com, the 26-year-old also went on an LDS mission before moving to the USA with his California-based wife whom he met in New Zealand. Purcell moved to California with the intention of attending college.
So far, so good, right?
Do you remember those four letters in the first sentence? NCAA?
So here's the problem. According to Rivals.com, Purcell played in two football games—two—as part of what he calls a "social club" in his home country. The NCAA says that his football eligibility clock started the first time he played a football game, and it's now expired. No more eligibility, that's the NCAA ruling.
See ya, sucker.
However, Purcell is appealing that ruling. According to Rivals.com, the University of Oregon has filed the appeal on Purcell's behalf. One tenet of the appeal is that the level of football Purcell played in New Zealand is useless and shouldn't count in NCAA-ville.
Essentially, Purcell did not relocate to California to play football; he came to go to college and subsequently learned that he might be able to earn a scholarship playing football. Rivals.com rates Purcell a 3-star recruit, and he currently has 10 offers.
Scout.com says that even though Purcell started as a raw player, he has attracted major college attention because of his "ideal size, athleticism and feet."
Purcell also achieved a 4.0 GPA his freshman year at Golden West Community College.
As of last month, Purcell has not committed to any school. But if his NCAA appeal is successful, Rivals.com says that the Ducks will become the front-runner to sign him.
On January 9, Purcell said, "Oregon is very high up on the list because they have been there for me through all this."
No word yet from the NCAA on his appeal. What a surprise, she said snidely.
Kay Jennings is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.
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