Rashad Evans missed Fresno State’s season opener after being declared academically ineligible for four games by the NCAA. The Bulldogs were extremely hopeful that an appeal would be successful and the senior wide receiver would be back on the field this weekend.
Unfortunately for both the player and the program, that won’t be the case.
The school announced via a press release Friday night that the NCAA has turned down its appeal of the decision, making Evans ineligible to return until the Sept. 29th game vs. San Diego State. The appeal was denied by the NCAA’s Progress- Toward-Degree Committee earlier this week.
What the specific academic issues were involving Evans weren’t detailed, although it’s evident from the statement attributed to head coach Tim DeRuyter that in no way, shape or form is the football program pleased with the outcome.
“I am extremely disappointed by the decision of the NCAA committee,” DeRuyter said. “We practiced through training camp and all last week with him as a major part of our game plan because all indications were that he would be eligible. Rashad did everything that was asked of him to regain his eligibility by NCAA bylaws. Academics always will be the foundation of our program, as it is our goal to graduate 100 percent of our student-athletes. Rashad is a quality young man who is scheduled to graduate in December. It is disappointing that he is going to miss four of his final games and it is inconceivable that through the NCAA process we could not remedy this situation.”
Last season, Evans, who will miss games against Oregon, Colorado and Tulsa, accounted for 44 receptions, 351 yards and three touchdowns. The fact that Evans is on track to receive a degree in Business Administration later this year is the source of FSU’s greatest frustration.
“This issue has been a source of great frustration for all involved,” athletic director Thomas Boeh said in his statement. “Rashad worked hard and completed all summer work asked of him. It is terribly disappointing that during the appeal process discussion appears to have strayed from the spirit and intent and of the original legislation, which was to help ensure that football student-athletes continue to progress towards an undergraduate degree.”