Indiana DB Bryant Fitzgerald Ruled Ineligible After Compliance Department Error

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2017

BLOOMINGTON, IN - SEPTEMBER 24: An Indiana Hoosiers helmet is seen during the game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Memorial Stadium on September 24, 2016 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Indiana University freshman defensive back Bryant Fitzgerald has been deemed ineligible for the Hoosiers' 2017 season following a mistake by the school's Office of Compliance Services.

On Saturday, Zach Osterman of the Indianapolis Star passed along a statement from Indiana, which said Fitzgerald was "inaccurately advised" about eligibility requirements. An appeal to the NCAA Eligibility Center was denied Friday.

The defender is allowed to keep his scholarship and will receive "all other student-athlete support," but he cannot take part in games or practices for the duration of the season, according to the statement.

Fitzgerald was a 3-star prospect and the No. 570 overall player in the 2017 recruiting class on Scout.com. He also checked in as the No. 32 recruit under the athlete label and was the top athlete from Indiana, making him a key in-state addition for the Hoosiers.

He originally committed to IU in January 2016 and said one of the main factors was the amount of interest the program showed early on, per Scout's Stu Jackson.

"They were the one who took the chance and stuck their neck out for me first, and that meant a lot to me," Fitzgerald said.

The former Avon High School standout wasn't projected to play an important role for the Hoosiers as a true freshman. He would have likely served as depth in the secondary and on special teams.

Missing an entire year due to a mistake out of his control still represents a setback in his effort to begin climbing the Indiana depth chart, though.