The Seminoles learned late Tuesday night that the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Subcommittee ruled the senior offensive lineman ineligible for the upcoming season. The committee ruled that Brown has already completed his NCAA eligibility and can no longer compete in NCAA events.
"We are really speechless about it on one hand," quarterback Chris Rix said.
"On the other hand, that's typical of the NCAA. I am not surprised. A lot of us are not surprised. I love Milford like he's my brother. Not just because he's my teammate, but I really felt it and I know the rest of the line and the rest of the team really felt it today. We all talked to him. If there's anything we can do for you, let us know. You are still our teammate. We just hope things work out with school – that he stays in school. Coach Bowden expressed that he hopes he stays in school and he works out with us. He's still part of this team regardless. I know things are going to work out for him in the future. He wll be playing on Sundays very soon."
While Brown was held out of most preseason drills as the NCAA deliberated over his status, the Seminoles adjusted by moving senior Todd Williams from tight tackle to Brown's slot at split guard. But that didn't make it any easier on Williams Wednesday.
"I'm heartbroken," he said. "At the same time, you have to be a team player and do whatever the coaches ask me to do and that's what I'm going to do. I didn't expect it. I thought I'd just be there for immediate purposes only. ... In the back of my mind, I thought everything would work out just fine and I'd go back out to tackle."
Offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden also expressed dismay over the timing of the announcement – three days before the Seminoles' regular-season opener against Iowa State.
Not helping matters, this issue was initially raised when Brown was recruited by FSU. Seminole administrators said they again raised their concerns with the NCAA during spring drills.
"It's just a shame that had to happen," Bowden said. "That it went so long, for his sake. It doesn't seem fair, but that's the rules. There's nothing you can do it about it at this point. You feel for him. You try to do what's best for him at this point.
"We've had Todd rolling in his place with the expectations that could happen. We've been playing it as if that was going to be the outcome. If we had Milford, it would have been a huge bonus for us. I don't expect a letdown with Todd in there. He's a fifth-year senior. He's going to play good. If we have to dip down into the second- or third-team, then that's what is going to happen – somebody has to step up."
Senior center Antoine Mirambeau, one of Brown' closest friends on the team, said Brown and others planned to eat dinner and hang out Wednesday night. Mirambeau said it was important that players offered their support.
"He's really going to be missed," Mirambeau said.
"Just having him around was great because he brought a lot of joy and enthusiasm to this offense, especially the offensive line. It's a shame that these people wouldn't have the heart to let someone play their senior year after he had gone through the entire offseason, and then make this decision right before the season begins. That's really a shame. I am very disappointed."
Added senior tight guard Montrae Holland: (pictured)
"We are going to go out tonight, eat and talk," Holland said.
""It's going to be hard for him. Everything happens for a reason. The chemistry, we are working on our chemistry to get it back like it was with Milford there. He was a vital part of the middle. Now we have big Todd Williams, and he's doing a great job also. Milford is a good player, too. We are going to miss him."
FSU coach Bobby Bowden also was disappointed by the ruling.
"Last year we lose guys to injuries for a year and this is just as critical," Bowden said.