Holliday Hopes Appeal Favors Him

Running back Mell Holliday on Friday said he's still holding out hope the NCAA will hear his appeal in the coming weeks and that he'll be declared eligible to play football for Colorado this fall.

Head coach Gary Barnett saw enough of Mell Holliday's potential on the field last Saturday to call him the team's No. 3 tailback — typically a contributing role in the CU offense.

Holliday said Friday that Barnett told him last week — the week of the scrimmage — that he was looking in to giving him a scholarship but that they needed to check his eligibility one last time.

"We checked it several times before and it came out fine," Holliday said. "When they checked it this last time — it's not fine."

CU is appealing the decision, Holliday said.

"What I'm hearing right now is that two weeks is the best-case scenario that we'll hear back (from the NCAA). So I'll miss the first two games," he said. "I'm trying to stay positive. I'm just a phone-call away. Hopefully, in two weeks, I'll get the phone call saying I can play."

The issue stems from the NCAA's rules regarding transfers between Division I football and basketball programs. The NCAA bylaw explains that a player "is required to complete one full year of residence" at the school to which he transfers before receiving eligibility.

Holliday competed at Wayne State College in Nebraska during the 2002 and 2003 seasons. He then transferred to the University of Nebraska, where he tried out for the NU football team. On Friday, Holliday said he tried out for the Cornhuskers on three different occasions, but never practiced with the NU team. Tryouts consisted of running a 40-yard dash, a pro-agility test and a vertical leap.

Holliday was not invited on to the NU football team. He approached the Colorado staff about transferring to CU this fall and walking on to the team.

He has not been in residence at Colorado for a full academic year.

"I've sat out a year and a half, so far," Holliday said. "But pretty much, (the NCAA is) saying, since I didn't sit out a year here, I'll have to sit out another year. So, I'd pretty much sit out two and a half years to play one year."

Holliday said Friday he plans to stay at CU and with the team whichever way the NCAA rules. When asked if he would be on scholarship this fall, even if he was not eligible for the entire season, Holliday said he didn't know.

On Wednesday, Barnett said he thought he had three scholarships to give, but didn't know yet what he was going to do with them. It appears now that Barnett knew at that point of the NCAA's ruling Holliday ineligible for this season.

The ruling leaves the Buffs thin at the tailback spot, where untested sophomores Hugh Charles and Byron Ellis are listed one and two. Senior V-back Lawrence Vickers is being prepared to play No. 3 tailback. True freshmen Kevin Moyd and Reggie Foster, as well as walk on Maurice Little are also on the depth chart.