Ole Miss asks for sixth year for Lockett

By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – The Ole Miss compliance office has submitted paperwork for one NCAA case and intends to do so soon for another.
How the NCAA rules on them could greatly impact the Rebels’ 2011 football season.
It’s the second straight season for Ole Miss to submit for review at least one eligibility request.
An NCAA appeals committee certified quarterback Jeremiah Masoli for 2010, ruling he did not have to sit out the one season required of transfers, because he enrolled in a graduate-level field of study not offered at Oregon.
Defensive end Kentrell Lockett is seeking a sixth year of eligibility, his senior season having ended early in 2010 with a major knee ligament tear.
West Virginia transfer Barry Brunetti is seeking a waiver of the one-year residency rule, as Masoli did.
“We submitted the request for Kentrell a few weeks ago. The request for Barry is in progress,” said David Wells, the senior associate AD for compliance.
A ruling on a case like Lockett’s is usually a four- to six-week process, but it could take longer. Wells said the only feedback he’s received so far is a reminder that eligibility issues for players who are in season – such as basketball and indoor track presently – are given higher priority.
“I have called asking that it be expedited,” Wells said.
Requests such as Lockett’s are often approved. In fact, three weeks ago the NCAA granted a sixth year of eligibility to University of Houston quarterback Case Keenum.
Keenum was injured in the third game of the year at UCLA. Lockett was injured early in the fourth game, at home against Fresno State. He had already been held out of the season opener against Jacksonville State with an irregular heartbeat.
Before the injury, Lockett was expected to provide stability and leadership to the defensive line. He was a preseason All-SEC choice after posting 39 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, five sacks and a team-high 13 quarterback pressures in 2009.
Brunetti’s request is more rare. He is asking for immediate eligibility because car travel to Morgantown for his mother became unmanageable due to complications from an automobile accident.
Wells said he’s seen such requests approved when a terminal illness was involved.
“If he is not approved, he won’t lose any eligibility,” Wells said.
With or without the waiver, Brunetti will have three years of eligibility remaining.
The compliance staff is still gathering papers in the process of compiling Brunetti’s request. Wells is hopeful of a letter from West Virginia recommending the waiver.
Brunetti’s request will be presented to the same committee that originally refused Masoli’s request.
A dual-threat quarterback, Brunetti was named Parade All-American and U.S. Army All-American at Memphis University School. He was the starting quarterback on the last team to defeat South Panola in the regular season.
At West Virginia he was No. 2 on the depth chart behind All-Big East QB Geno Smith.
Brunetti appeared in four games, completing 4 of 9 passes for six yards and rushing once for four yards.
Contact Parrish Alford at 678-1600
or parrish.alford@journalinc.com.