On the field, Ferris State finds itself unbeaten and in line for a shot at a national championship. Something off the field, however, could potentially derail those dreams.
Ferris State acknowledged in a statement Wednesday night that it had used a football player this season who had been certified as eligible by the university but was, in fact, ineligible. That player had played in the first four games of the 2018 season before the issue came to the university’s attention.
“By design, the eligibility of every student-athlete is certified by the University, independent of the Athletics Department,” Vice President for Student Affairs Jeanine Ward-Roof said in a statement. “The student-athlete’s transfer history was complex, and the error by the department that certifies student-athlete eligibility was the result of a misinterpretation of a transfer rule.”
While the Div. II school did not name the player involved, mlive.com subsequently confirmed that it is defensive lineman Dan Perry. Perry was originally a true freshman wrestler at Michigan during the 2016-17 academic year, then transferred after wrestling season and was on the football roster at Kent State during the 2017 football season. After redshirting at Kent, he then transferred to Ferris State after the 2017 football season to play football for the Bulldogs.
Because of the two transfers in 2017, Perry should’ve been required to sit out the 2018 season despite dropping from the FBS to Div. II level of football.
Ferris State reported the violation to the NCAA, which will determine whether or not they will face sanctions for playing an ineligible player. The punishment for such a violation could include, among other things, forfeiting wins in the four games in which Perry played.
After seven games, Ferris State is 7-0 and ranked second in the latest Div. II Top 25 behind fellow 7-0 Minnesota State. In those most recent rankings, Ferris State, with five, was the only other Div. II team to garner first-place votes outside of Minnesota State’s 25.