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          === NCAA reverses field, rules Marine eligible for MTSU ===
 
 Murfreesboro,  TN (Sports Network) - The NCAA reversed its field on Monday and
 ruled Steven Rhodes, who spent five years in the Marines, was eligible to play
 football immediately.
 
 The 24-year-old Rhodes, a projected defensive end and possibly tight end, will
 maintain all four years of his eligibility, the NCAA said.
 
 The  organization originally said Rhodes was not eligible because he played in
 a recreational league during his time of service in the Marines.
 
 "Throughout  this process,  NCAA staff  worked closely  with Middle  Tennessee
 State  University, and  we appreciate the school's partnership," Kevin Lennon,
 the NCAA's vice president of academic and membership affairs, said. "As a part
 of  the  ongoing review of NCAA  rules, our members will examine the organized
 competition  rules, especially  as it  impacts those  returning from  military
 service.
 
 "We  thank Steven  for his service to our  country and wish him the best as he
 begins college."
 
 The  6-foot-3, 240-pound  Rhodes, from Antioch, Tenn., will major in aerospace
 at MTSU.
 
 Rhodes found out in the middle of practice that he was granted eligibility.
 
 "It  gives you a whole different mindset. You feel like you have new life," he
 said.
 
 08/19 20:29:17 ET

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