Temporary Setback

A late ruling from the NCAA Clearinghouse cut short this Georgian's 2008 Division I plans, but he isn't letting that temporary setback stop him.

Linebacker Bernard Smith of Mays High School in Atlanta had actually already started summer classes at West Virginia before the cruel hand of the Clearinghouse struck.

"I was there and ready when this thing happened with the Clearinghouse," Smith said. "I had sent all my information in, but they had a problem with the way some of my grading scales at my school had changed, so they said I couldn't play. I can appeal that, and I'm doing that now. My high school can send in documentation to show that it changed, and that would have an effect on my grades, and could make me a qualifier."

Unfortunately for Smith, that appeal won't come soon enough to allow him to join West Virginia's team this year. If it is successful, however, it could result in a shorter stay at a junior college than is usual.

"If everything gets sent in and approved, I might only have to stay at junior college for this year, or maybe three semesters at the most," said Smith, who is attending Northeast Mississippi Community College this fall. "But if it doesn't work out, I will still work to graduate as quickly as I can."

Despite the setback, Smith's Division I plans remain unchanged.

"West Virginia is still the only school that I want to go to. I'm still talking with them, and I hope I can get this appeal and get there as soon as possible."

No timetable is available for the consideration of Smith's appeal.

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