Dantonio: "I think he should be able to play"

Michigan State coach seeking three years to play three for junior college transfer, but a Big Ten rule could prohibit it.

Drake Martinez had his opportunities in leaving junior college to head back to the Division 1 level.

In doing so, he opted for Michigan State instead of Pac-12 offers. But because he played his freshman season at Nebraska before transferring to Saddleback (Calif.) Community College, there are questions about his eligibility due to Big Ten transfer rules.

”Right now, the fact that will be that he may have to sit out,” coach Mark Dantonio said. “We will go out in public and just try and stimulate things, public outcry I guess to try to have him three for three left. …

”Every other conference in the country does that, no reason the Big Ten Conference should not be doing that, as well.”

Martinez committed to Nebraska while in high school at Laguna Beach, but was recruited by Michigan State at that time. He redshirted while in Lincoln, aided by an illness that saw his weight plummet, and left after his first season for Saddleback.

Due to the circumstances – as well as being academically squared away – Dantonio thinks eligibility should be immediate for Martinez despite of the Big Ten rule in the way.

”I think when a young man has played someplace, and he'd gotten sick and lost 35 pounds,” he said, “and he leaves and goes back home, and he spends a year in residence at a junior college and his grades are all in order and he's going to transfer and graduate and fulfill all the requirements, I think he should be able to play.”

Dantonio said Michigan State will look to appeal to have Martinez have three years of eligibility with all three to play. As of now, the expectation is that he has to sit out a year before playing two. And the fact that he chose Michigan State in spite of that fact is something Dantonio said speaks to the Spartans and the program in East Lansing.

”He made the decision to come, even though he's had the opportunity to go elsewhere in the Pac 12 and be able to play three for three.,” Dantonio said. “Another statement towards what's going on here and what's going on with the people here, the chemistry here, the culture here and the direction this program is going.

”I think that is, again, those are the things to me that speak volumes about this football program right now.”


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