NCAA Clears Green To Play Immediately

FAYETTEVILLE — After several months of waiting, Arkansas running back Broderick Green finally received the news he had been hoping for.

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said Thursday that the NCAA has granted a waiver allowing Green to play immediately for the Razorbacks instead of having to sit out a year because of his transfer from Southern California in the spring.

The sophomore has said that he transferred to Arkansas because he wanted to be closer to his ailing grandmother in Little Rock. Arkansas officials sent an appeal on his behalf to the NCAA in April, but didn't get a ruling on it until Wednesday.

"I'm not surprised (by the NCAA's decision) because I think the precedent was set that other people had been granted eligibility immediately when they had family situations like that," Petrino said Thursday afternoon during a news conference from the Paradise Valley Athletic Club.

"So it's not something that surprised me. I guess what surprised me was how long it took. You know, it was quite the process."

Petrino's announcement comes a week before the Razorbacks open preseason camp on Aug. 6, and thanks to the NCAA's ruling, Green will get the chance in practice to prove he deserves playing time in the fall.

Along with adding more depth to an already crowded backfield, the 6-foot-2, 248-pound sophomore gives Petrino a big, bruising running back to use in short yardage situations and near the goal line.

Green could also be a good complement to returning starter Michael Smith, a senior who's considered undersized at 5-foot-9, 180 pounds.

"I think (Green) just adds another leg to the (running back) competition because they're all going to be competing for playing time," Arkansas running backs coach Tim Horton said. "We obviously don't want Michael Smith to have to carry the whole burden like he did a year ago."

Green redshirted his freshman season at USC in 2007, but he showed in his limited playing time last season that he could be an effective runner.

Thrust into the rotation because of injuries, Green rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries in USC's 69-0 win at Washington State on Oct. 19, 2008. He earned only 14 more carries, 47 more yards and one more touchdown the rest of the season.

"I am excited about the opportunity to play for Arkansas this season," Green said in a statement released through the university. "I appreciate the support of coach Petrino, the rest of the coaching staff and the athletic department administration in helping make this outcome a reality."

A year ago, the NCAA denied a waiver for quarterback Ryan Mallett, forcing him to sit out last season after transferring from Michigan. Mallett's argument was that he transferred because he didn't fit new Wolverines coach Rich Rodriguez's offensive system.

But Horton said there was precedent in Green's case. Linebacker Matt Stoltz, who starred at Little Rock's Pulaski Academy like Green, received a waiver a few years ago that allowed him to transfer from LSU and play immediately at Arkansas so he could be closer to his sick father.

"I'm not surprised," Horton said of the NCAA's decision on Green. "I just wish it would have happened earlier, but we're thrilled."

Petrino said he limited the amount of reps Green got in spring practice because he wasn't sure if the running back would be eligible to play in 2009. But Petrino has been encouraged by Green's development during the team's offseason workout program.

"We've reduced his body fat by quite a bit, by a significant amount. He's gotten much stronger, and he's gained three pounds," Petrino said. "So we didn't lose any weight, but he feels much stronger and quicker."

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