Prugh isn't through

Don't tell Tommy Gallion, but the NCAA has granted extended eligibility for two of the three Tennessee football players who petitioned for it.

Gallion, of course, is the attorney who blames Vol head man Phillip Fulmer for the demise of Alabama's football program, suggesting that UT is a sacred cow which gets preferential treatment from the SEC and NCAA offices.

No doubt, Gallion's blood boiled when he learned that the NCAA's Student-Athlete Reinstatement Staff has granted Vol center Chuck Prugh an additional year, making him eligible for the 2004 season. Quarterback C.J. Leak, who suffered a knee injury while at Wake Forest so severe that it required two years of rehab, received a sixth year of eligibility from the Reinstatement Staff several weeks ago. However, offensive lineman Sean Young, who missed parts of three seasons with injuries and attempts to redshirt, was denied his bid for additional eligibility.

An unusual combination of illnesses cost Prugh 10 games of the 2003 season and very nearly cost him his life. The NCAA committee determined that he qualified under the category ''circumstances of extraordinary or extreme hardship.'' The Maryville native spent 22 days in the hospital last fall and another nine days in a rehabilitation center. He then continued recovering at home for several weeks.

Prugh will be in the mix for the first-team center job when UT opens spring practice on March 19. Jason Respert and Richie Gandy are also returnees who can play center.


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