MTSU walk-on, former Marine makes college debut, forces potential rule change

Middle Tennessee State’s Steven Rhodes has finally gotten the chance to live out his dream of a being a collegiate football player. In August, the story broke of the former Marine who was originally ruled ineligible by the NCAA. The NCAA later overruled its decision after a national spotlight shed light on the issue, and the media attacked NCAA president Mark Emmert for yet another reason.

On Aug. 29, Rhodes’ Blue Raiders faced off against the Western Carolina Catamounts with Middle Tennessee securing a 45-24 win at home. Rhodes’s performance earned pretty high praise from his coaches. The 24-year-old, true freshman recorded a half sack at defensive end, but had his biggest influence in special teams. On punt and kickoff coverage, Rhodes tallied four total tackles — two solo, two assisted. His second appearance, in the team’s 40-20 loss to North Carolina, didn’t produce any statistics, though, he still saw considerable time on special teams and a few snaps on the defensive line.

Rhodes’ presences isn’t only being felt on the football field. The ruling that the NCAA made to waive one of its bylaws to allow the former Marine to participate in collegiate athletics is forcing a re-assessment of the rule. In an era in which many critics claim the NCAA is inconsistent and stubborn, this situation allows the NCAA to prove that it can admit wrongdoing and fix a problem, perhaps leading to more self-reflection in the future.

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4 thoughts on “MTSU walk-on, former Marine makes college debut, forces potential rule change

  1. connorriley

    Really good post for a number of reasons. For one it was the only post that wasn’t about the Acc, so I can tell that you had to put in research and effort to put together the post. Secondly, you usually don’t see follow ups to these type of stories.Usually there is a rule change and the player just sort of fades into oblivion. Not only did continue the story of Rhodes but you put more of a focus on Rhodes and not on the NCAA rule that had gotten him the attention in the first place.

    Reply
  2. tanyasic

    Great post. I love this story and I feel like I saw few follow ups after the original story regarding the NCAA ruling him ineligible broke. You gave a good background that gave the necessary information for those who weren’t as familiar with the story, but didn’t rehash the whole thing, which was good. Props for doing a CUSA story, since I know that’s not always the most newsworthy conference, except for in this instance. It’s the perfect situation for a good second day story that other may not take advantage of.

    Reply
  3. kohiller

    Good job on seeking out a different topic. I think it’s a good one to discuss since it delves into NCAA rule changes. My only criticism is that your post might be a little short; maybe elaborate a little more on the impact Rhodes’ could have.

    Reply
  4. Savannah Brock

    I really liked how you chose a story that was different and not as popular. I have not heard much about this story and I feel that you gave a good insight into the story with Steven Rhodes and his game against Western Carolina by using the hyperlinks to more background information.
    I felt that you did a good job on your research for your hyperlinks. I was able to click on them and I was able to get good valid information that helped me understand the story further.
    I do think that it could have helped if you gave a little more information into Rhode’s story without the hyperlinks. I feel that if you added that in and all that he has been through with his eligibility it would have shown the greater impact he has made.

    Reply

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