The Seminoles learned late Tuesday night that the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Subcommittee ruled offensive lineman Milford Brown ineligible for the upcoming season. The committee ruled that Brown has already completed his NCAA eligibility and can no longer compete in NCAA events.
The committee ruled that Brown was a full-time student at Alabama State in the fall of 1997 and that his five-year eligibility window for NCAA competition began at that time and ended with the completion of the 2001 season. NCAA staff member Rich McGlynn contacted FSU Associate Athletic Director Bob Minnix with the committee's findings.
Brown, who started all 12 games last season at split guard after transferring from East Mississippi Junior College, was informed of the decision Wednesday morning. Brown can remain enrolled at FSU, and his teammates said Wednesday following practice they believed he continue to take classes.
"He's going to stay in school," senior center and good friend Antoine Mirambeau said. "Him and I were like on the (academic) bubble a couple of times. We told each other, 'Yeah, we really want to get that degree' because just about everyone else is going to graduate. We want to be the other two that graduate also."
Senior Todd Williams has worked at Brown's split guard slot this preseason will start against Iowa State Saturday. Williams is backed by redshirt freshman Matt Meinrod. Sophomore Ray Willis is scheduled to start at tight tackle after being in a heated spring battle with Williams for the starting role. Willis is backed by redshirt freshmdn Ron Lunford (pictured) and Eric Broe.
In addition to being one of five returning starters along the line, Brown also could have played center if needed. Mirambeau is backed by sophomore David Castillo, who has battled injuries at FSU and is coming off an ankle sprain.
"He was denied, Minnix said of Brown. "(They ruled) he (Brown) was full-time student in 1997 and because he was full-time student, his clock started and his five years expired at the end of 2001 football season. It was their position he was a full-time student."
FSU had hoped for a favorable ruling, though Brown's case wasn't clear cut. FSU officials confirmed there was a discrepancy involving Brown's records. Alabama State's position was that Brown was a part-time student during the 1997 fall semester. However, there is also a transcript from Alabama State that shows Brown was a full-time student, according to Minnix. Due to the conflicting records, the NCAA ruled against Brown.
Brown told The Territory earlier this preseason that a psychology class was at issue. Brown said the class was on his schedule but he never attended it.
With Brown's status resolved, the Seminoles will need Williams and other to help fill the void. Williams started every game at tight tackle last season before moving to split tackle against Georgia Tech following Brett Williams' knee injury. Todd Williams, however, was unable to unseat Willis for the starting role back at tight tackle in the Gator Bowl against Virginia Tech. Brett Williams started at split tackle against the Hokies.
"We have a lot a confidence in Todd," FSU offensive line coach Jimmy Heggins said. "I think this will be breakout season for him. Milford was an experienced player. It leaves us a little thin. We are going to miss him and we will have to find young guys to step up."