DALLAS -- No official word was expected until Tuesday, but Monday afternoon brought the answers that running back Stevan Ridley was in search of.
After LSU worked through the majority of their bowl preparations unsure of whether or not the Southeastern Conference’s fourth-best rusher would be available when the Tigers met Texas A&M on Jan. 7, Monday brought a reversal of fortune.
Though he was originally ruled academically ineligible, the NCAA determined that Ridley did not violate its bylaws, meaning he is eligible to play in the Tigers’ Cotton Bowl appearance on Friday.
“This is great news,” said LSU coach Les Miles. “We put our faith in the system and the NCAA made the right decision. We appreciate the efforts put forth by the NCAA and the LSU administration.
“We thank the NCAA for looking at this case over the holidays and for resolving this issue on such short notice,” said Joe Alleva, LSU Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics. “This ruling is in the best interests of the student-athlete and that’s what the NCAA is all about.”
An initial worry from Miles involved the holidays, which he feared would keep the decision makers out of their offices and away from a second review.
“We are grateful that the NCAA made this a priority at this time of year,” he said. “If you believe in the mission of the NCAA, this decision is good for college athletics.
“I told the team about the news at the end of practice and they’re a happy group.”
LSU will practice on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons before a walk-through session on Thursday. The 75th Annual Cotton Bowl is set to kick at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.