Oklahoma already knows it will be without one of its top defensive players for its Sugar Bowl matchup with Alabama. Whether that remains the case in 2014 remains to be seen.
In an Oct. 5 win over TCU, Corey Nelson suffered a torn pectoral muscle. The surgery to repair the damage ended the senior’s season after just five games, but there was hope that the linebacker’s appeal for a fifth season would be successful.
The initial appeal for a waiver was denied by the Big 12. The school has since appealed that decision to the NCAA, although the Daily Oklahoman writes that “OU sources have indicated that Nelson’s chances at winning his appeal to the NCAA are very slim.”
That source would appear to be correct as NCAA bylaws will only approve a waiver for a fifth year if the student-athlete has been limited to 30 percent or less of his team’s games due to injury/health issues. The working number for Nelson’s case is 13 contests — including OU’s bowl game — meaning the linebacker could not play in more than four games (13 x .3 = 3.9, rounded up to four). As Nelson was injured in the fifth game, describing his chances at a waiver as “very slim” would be generous.
The senior defensive co-captain was second on the team with 27 tackles before the injury. He also had a 24-yard interception return touchdown, four pass breakups and a sack.
Nelson had started 27 games the past three seasons.