LSU’s final practice before Christmas is typically uneventful.
On Wednesday morning, Les Miles was drilled with questions far from the norm.
As LSU prepares for a Jan. 7 Cotton Bowl date with Texas A&M, they will do so with the status of their starting running back up in the air. According to Miles, Ridley has been ruled ineligible for bowl game as a result of an academic issue interpreted by the NCAA as a violation of its bylaws.
“Stevan Ridley is currently in an academic issue and may not be eligible to play in the Cotton Bowl,” said Miles. “We are in the appeal process now with the NCAA and we’re very hopeful that his eligibility will be restored.
“We’re doing everything we can as a university to help Stevan through this issue.”
It was a breakout season for Ridley, who played in all 12 games and leads the team in rushing with 1,042 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 86.8 yards per game – good for fourth in the SEC.
“Stevan is the captain of our team,” said Miles. “He’s been a hard worker, a wonderful leader and has developed through work, time and effort not only as a player but as a student.”
For Ridley, the ruling is one that caught him by surprise.
“It saddens me to announce that the NCAA has rescinded my eligibility to play football for LSU at the upcoming Cotton Bowl due to an academic violation,” he said. “While I question their findings and think that the punishment is harsh, I did put myself in a compromising position that I deeply regret.
“With respect for the process, we have requested that the NCAA reconsider their findings and hope that they will expedite this review.”
According to Ridley, all bodies are behind him as they move forward with their appeal.
“I have the full support of the LSU administration and coaching staff, and trust them in assisting me with the appeals process,” he said. “I hold myself to a very high standard for my performance both on and off the field. I know that my family, teammates, coaches, friends and fans share that standard, and I regret that we find ourselves facing this dilemma at this time.
“I remain committed to Louisiana State University and to the LSU football team and I plan to fight to maintain my eligibility. I will have no further comments until the appeals process is complete.”