NCAA Denies Ruling Baylor RB Silas Nacita Ineligible

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 25, 2015

USA Today

Baylor RB Silas Nacita has been ruled ineligible for rules violations, according to Baylor University.

Nacita initially spoke out after the NCAA allegedly deemed him ineligible to play because he accepted a place to live from what he describes as a "close family friend."

Ian McCaw, Baylor's athletic director, issued a statement, via Shehan Jeyarajah of The Dallas Morning News:

Silas Nacita will not be a part of the football program moving forward due to rules violations that impact his eligibility. We appreciate his contributions to Baylor football and wish him well as he completes his studies.

However, the NCAA has denied that it ruled the Baylor RB ineligible, adding that "Baylor has not requested a waiver for him," in a tweet posted Wednesday. 

Nacita, who was once homeless, initially posted a message on social media, saying his academic scholarships weren't enough to cover living expenses and a friend made the offer to help out. As a result, he said he won't be allowed to play football any longer:

In the message, Nacita said he understands the role of the NCAA, but he didn't know he was breaking any rules by accepting a place to stay. He also thanked everybody at Baylor for the opportunity to play, although his dream was cut short.

On Thursday, Nacita further elaborated on what happened to cause him to lose eligibility in a new tweet, stating that he only knew one of the people he accepted assistance from, and accepting blame for his actions: 

Jeyarajah provided head coach Art Briles' comments on the matter, as well:

Nacita tallied three touchdowns and 191 yards on 31 carries for the Bears in 2014. While he only played a limited role, his average of 6.2 yards per attempt was best on the team for anyone with double-digit carries.

In December, Ken Rodriguez of Sports Illustrated chronicled the long and winding journey Nacita took to Baylor. That included a period when he was homeless and forced to spend a night in a New Mexico ditch.

The deep dive into his background also featured comments from Briles, who raved about the now-ineligible running back.

"He's a baller," Briles said. "The legend of Silas is his personality, his grit, his unwavering belief in being positive every day. He's a borderline stud...Take the border out. He may be over that line."

Nacita's situation is similar to that of Boise State defensive end Antoine Turner, who was originally unable to receive assistance from the school in 2014 despite being homeless, via KTVB.com. The NCAA eventually ruled that Boise State could assist Turner.

With the NCAA's statement, however, it appears it never deemed Nacita ineligible to begin with.

Ultimately, Nacita seems ready to accept his ineligibility if there are no other avenues.

In the bigger picture, it's unfortunate a player would be forced to choose between playing college football and being without a place to stay. Nacita endured quite a road to get his chance on the field, but now it appears to have been taken away in controversial fashion.

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