The 24-year-old from Antioch, Tennessee just completed five years active duty in the Marines this summer. In hopes of earning a walk-on spot on Middle Tennessee State University’s team, the 5-foot-6-inch, 240-pound Marine sergeant contacted the head coach. The school willingly obliged the former soldier.
The drama began to take a turn when Rhodes arrived on campus to play football, but was told that he was ineligible because of his participation in a military-only recreational football league in 2012.
Per NCAA Division I football rules, Rhodes must take a mandatory redshirt his first year playing with MTSU.
“This is extremely frustrating. I think it’s unfair, highly unfair,” Rhodes said. “I just got out of the Marine Corps, and I wanted to play. For (the NCAA) to say, ‘No, you can’t play right now,’ I just don’t understand the logic in that.”
After Rhodes’ story went public, with social media doling out a major beating to the NCAA, the organization immediately reinstated the Vet’s eligibility. The ruling came in late Monday afternoon.