The Norman Transcript

Sports

August 24, 2009

Court hearing cancelled

For now at least, Oklahoma linebacker Mike Balogun’s eligibility is not a matter for the courts to decide.

Balogun’s attorney, Woody Glass, told The Transcript, a permanent injunction hearing scheduled for Monday was canceled. Glass said he is working on an agreement for the NCAA to re-examine the linebacker’s status outside of the courtroom.

“This puts Mike in the best position to play this year,” Glass said.

The OU player’s amateur status was taken away last week after the NCAA informed OU it was investigating claims Balogun, 25, had played in a semi-pro football league after his 21st birthday. NCAA rules state that anyone who plays in an organized league after turning 21 loses one year of eligibility for every year he played.

Balogun is a senior and his college career would be over if he were to lose a season.

Glass said the critical part of the agreement is getting the NCAA to rule on his status prior to OU’s Sept. 5 season opener against BYU.

“They’ve agreed to reconsider their position on Mike’s eligibility status,” Glass said. “If they certify him, then it’s all over.”

The certification is the critical part. Glass said a big reason why it’s better to resolve the situation outside of the courts is NCAA bylaw 19.7. The rule permits the NCAA to penalize schools that allow student-athletes to play under a court order if that order is later overturned or found to be unjustified.

OU could risk forfeiting games Balogun played in under the rule.

“It puts OU in a situation of having to take the chance that it gets overturned,” Glass said. “I just don’t know what OU would do in that situation.”

Balogun was certified as an amateur by the NCAA prior to enrolling at OU last summer, but the NCAA started to re-examine Balogun’s status this spring after finding new information pertaining to Balogun’s participation in the North American Football League.

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