In yet another example of why the NCAA's selective enforcement is both puzzling and stupid, Brigham Young senior Jared Ward, a four-time All-American cross country and track star, has been ruled ineligible after he participated in a recreational race, which included participants dressing up in light-hearted costumes.
What makes the situation even more unsettling is the fact that the race took place over four years ago. Ward had just returned from missionary work, but was a couple weeks too late to enroll, so he decided to spend his time elsewhere.
From The Deseret News:
“That fall, he traveled to California to watch his younger brother compete in a regional cross-country race. Just for fun, as a prelude to the real race, there was a recreational race for coaches, parents and other supporters of the athletes. It is a just for fun event whose entrants range from teens-to-70-year-olds.”
Ward decided he wanted in on the fun, completely unaware that participating could jeopardize his status with the NCAA. “I recall someone wearing a tuxedo and another guy in a bird suit and a monkey or gorilla costume,” he said.
The NCAA ruled that Ward gained an unfair advantage by participating in the "competitive event" and thus determined Ward was in clear violation.
Now, Ward may have to skip his senior year of competition, as BYU has appealed the decision twice, both times unsuccessfully.
As Ward noted, “If I were trying to gain an advantage by running in a competitive race, I wouldn't have chosen that race. It's not a competitive effort.”
Via Eye on Sports