News broke Wednesday that once-homeless walk-on running back Silas Nacita would not be eligible to play for Baylor after claiming he accepted housing from a close family friend (he later called his "close family friend" description "misleading," saying, "the family members who offered assistance were merely acquaintances").
Athletic director Ian McCaw confirmed Nacita's ineligibility in a statement, but offered no details:
Silas Nacita will not be a part of the football program moving forward due to rules violations that impact his eligibility. We appreciate his contributions to Baylor football and wish him well as he completes his studies.
The NCAA followed up with its own statement, denying any involvement in the situation:
The NCAA did not declare Silas Nacita ineligible and Baylor has not requested a waiver for him.— Inside the NCAA (@InsidetheNCAA) February 25, 2015
This could be a case of Baylor finding a player ineligible for any number of reasons related or unrelated to this or other NCAA rules, with the player interpreting the news as an NCAA ruling and the NCAA simply pointing out it did not make the decision.
Whoever made the decision, it doesn't sound like it was the coaching staff, based on comments by head coach Art Briles.
"It's unfortunate you know, and hopefully there'll be a remedy. This is a situation handled through compliance not through football" -Briles— Shehan Jeyarajah (@ShehanJeyarajah) February 25, 2015
"If he's eligible, he'll be back. This is out of our control, it isn't our problem with him." -Briles on Silas Nacita— Shehan Jeyarajah (@ShehanJeyarajah) February 25, 2015
The organization dealt with a similar controversy last May, when Boise State asked fans not to assist homeless junior college commit Antoine Turner after his story was televised on local news. A waiver was eventually approved by the NCAA, allowing the school to provide special assistance, but Turner was a scholarship recruit.
Nacita scored three touchdowns and made academic All-Big 12 last season while sleeping on apartment floors and studying pictures taken on his phone of textbook pages at the campus bookstore. He earned academic scholarships while in community college, allowing him to attend Baylor, but was not on athletic scholarship with the university.