DALLAS -- No official word was expected until Tuesday, but Monday afternoon
brought the answers that running back Stevan Ridley was in search of.
After LSU worked through the majority of their bowl
preparations unsure of whether or not the Southeastern Conference’s fourth-best
rusher would be available when the Tigers met Texas A&M on Jan. 7, Monday
brought a reversal of fortune.
Though he was originally ruled academically ineligible, the
NCAA determined that Ridley did not violate its bylaws, meaning he is eligible
to play in the Tigers’ Cotton Bowl appearance on Friday.
“This is great news,” said LSU coach Les Miles. “We put our
faith in the system and the NCAA made the right decision. We appreciate the
efforts put forth by the NCAA and the LSU administration.
“We thank the
NCAA for looking at this case over the holidays and for resolving this issue on
such short notice,” said Joe Alleva, LSU Vice Chancellor and Director of
Athletics. “This ruling is in the best interests of the student-athlete
and that’s what the NCAA is all about.”
An initial worry from Miles involved the holidays, which he
feared would keep the decision makers out of their offices and away from a
“We are grateful that the NCAA made this a priority at this
time of year,” he said. “If you believe in the mission of the NCAA, this
decision is good for college athletics.
“I told the team about the news at the end of practice and
they’re a happy group.”
LSU will practice on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons before
a walk-through session on Thursday. The 75th Annual Cotton Bowl is set to kick
at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.