After Drean Rucker drowned last July the NCAA put several restrictions on the university in terms of how much they could be involved with the family or have them take part in any USC related events. The logic from the NCAA side was that Drean's younger brother Taurean would be considered a potential recruit and therefore any special treatment would be considered a violation.
Andre Rucker received a call from Pete Carroll recently and the two sat down for several hours to discuss the situation. Carroll told Andre "we're going to change this rule" and they petitioned the NCAA for a change and one was granted. According to the LA Times, USC faculty athletic representative Noel Ragsdale submitted a request asking for a waiver as it related to the Rucker family due to the unique circumstances. The NCAA granted a blanket waiver that is in effect until the point that a USC coach begins to recruit Taurean Rucker.
"My emotions are flying right now," said Andre. "I'm just so happy that we're going to be getting a ring. I know my boy would've been a part of that championship, he was a part of that championship, and this is just so important to us. We've got a room set up with Drean's things and this ring will have a spot right in the center of the room."
Andre is also looking forward to experiencing another part of the championship on his next visit to Heritage Hall.
"I told Coach Carroll I just want to touch the national championship trophy, I want to hold it for my son. Coach Carroll said to come down anytime so when I go to pick up his ring I will definitely hold that trophy."
The past year has been tough for the Rucker family, as anyone could imagine, and the news this week of an Arizona player dying on the field hit close to home.
"I feel for the family and all that they are going through. It has been a difficult experience for our family. You find that you are presented with the choice as you go on in your life to play or fold. I've come close to folding at times but I just couldn't do that. I've chosen to play. You just accept the fact that Drean is in a better place and you go on as best you can."
This fall Andre will be watching as Taurean begins his high school football career as a freshman at Arroyo Valley High School. Taurean will enter as a 5-11, 240 defensive lineman and Andre says he has the same tenacity as Drean.