Former Scottsdale Chaparral High School star DaVonte’ Neal will likely have to wait until fall 2014 to suit up for the Arizona Wildcats.
UA head coach Rich Rodriguez announced at his weekly press conference Monday that Neal, who filed for a hardship waiver with the NCAA to play immediately after transferring from Notre Dame, had his appeal denied.
Rodriguez said the UA will apply for a final appeal, but “it doesn’t look good” for Neal to be declared eligible for any part of the 2013 season. Neal still has a redshirt year available.
“That’s a little disappointing — more than a little disappointing,” Rodriguez said. “I could go into great detail, but I don’t want to waste y’all’s time on what some of my opinions are on some of the NCAA’s rulings.”
Neal, a 5-foot-10, 176-pound sophomore receiver, applied for a hardship waiver on the basis that he left Notre Dame to be closer to his girlfriend and newborn daughter. The university filed for the appeal at the beginning of August and waited more than a month for a ruling.
Neal recorded just one catch as a freshman, but served as the primary punt returner for a Fighting Irish team that played for the national title.
“The only thing I’ll say about some of the things with the NCAA is they’re consistent with being inconsistent,” Rodriguez said. “Now with this last ruling to come down, I’m not overly optimistic simply because I don’t understand some of the inconsistencies of the NCAA.
“We’re all frustrated by it and disappointed, but DaVonte’ has a great attitude about it and he’ll have three years of eligibility left starting next fall.”