RUSTON, La. (Aug. 18, 2014) – The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has ruled that Louisiana Tech wide receiver Sterling Griffin has been granted a sixth year of eligibility.
Griffin, a native of Opa Locka, Florida, was won of Louisiana Tech’s top receivers with 357 receiving yards on 33 catches last year, averaging 10.8 yards per catch. His 74-yard touchdown catch at Rice last November was the longest play of the year for the Bulldogs.
“Sterling is what the sixth year rule is made for,” said Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz. “This wasn’t something we were worried about as long as the NCAA looked at it with the doctor’s notes and the surgery notes, and it was well documented what was there. Any time you are dealing with it, it is always nice to have that final word. So, it was great when we got the call that Sterling has been approved for his sixth year and we are going to need him because right now it is going to be one of the staples on our offense on the perimeter.”
Griffin was the lone sixth-year applicant for LA Tech in 2014 coming off a year where the Bulldogs submitted six eligibility waivers to the NCAA. Last season, LA Tech was granted three sixth-year waivers and two more waivers allowing an additional season of eligibility.
Receivers Richie Casey, Andrew Guillot and Scott Cathcart and offensive linemen Larry Banks and Jeremy Graffree were granted eligibility in 2013 by the NCAA but the final two decisions involving Banks and Cathcart did not become final until three days prior to Tech’s first game of the season.
“There were about six of them last year and even [the paperwork] was done before I even got here,” Holtz recalled of last year’s process. “I felt really comfortable because I had been around Sterling during those two injury years and knew the circumstances involved. What made me nervous last year was I was not here when those guys were injured. I know [former head athletic trainer] Keith Bunch had turned everything in through our compliance officer, Mary Kay Hungate, and that all got taken care of but we were in game week and there was a lot more uncertainty whereas this year there is just one which is a lot more normal and a lot more typical. A lot different than a year ago but I am really glad it was finally confirmed.”
Holtz was Griffin’s head coach at the University of South Florida (USF) when the receiver sat out the entire 2010 season due to an ankle injury in the offseason and then again in 2012 when Griffin tore his ACL. Upon receiving his undergraduate degree from USF, Griffin transferred to Louisiana Tech to complete his collegiate career.
“Sterling and I met and we talked about it earlier,” Holtz said of the appeal process. “I told him that this is going to be done, let’s not fret, let’s not worry. I have not given it a second thought that it wouldn’t happen. I felt very confident with it. I think the NCAA is very fair with this and I think it is a great rule. It is in place for a purpose for a young man with two season-ending injuries and is only allowed to play three years of college football, this grants him his fourth year to actually get on the field and play. I think it is a great rule. We had talked and were not even going to worry about it, not going to stress about it. This was done the day we sent it in but it is nice to have that final confirmation.”
Griffin will be leaned upon to not only provide leadership but also for his playmaking abilities with a young group of receivers as Louisiana Tech opens the season at No. 3/4 Oklahoma on Aug. 30.
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