With only two weeks until the start of the college football season, Georgia Southern Athletics has announced that starting quarterback Kevin Ellison will be suspended for the first two games of the 2015 season. The Eagles first two games will be against West Virginia (September 5) on the road, and against Western Michigan (September 12) at home.
According to Georgia Southern Athletic Director, Tom Kleinlein, Ellison’s punishment was handed down by the NCAA. What has many people scratching their heads is that Ellison was only suspended for two games and not for the entire season. The reasoning behind the two game suspension lies in Sections 188.8.131.52.6 and 184.108.40.206.6.1 of the NCAA Division I Manual:
220.127.116.11.6 Additional Requirements—Football. [FBS/FCS] In football, a student-athlete who is a member of the institution’s football team and who does not successfully complete at least nine semester hours or eight quarter hours of academic credit during the fall term or does not earn the Academic Progress 2015-16 Division I – August 165 14Eligibility Rate eligibility point for the fall term (or does not successfully complete either requirement) shall not be eligible to compete in the first four contests against outside competition in the following playing season. (Adopted: 4/28/11 effective 8/1/11, Revised: 5/28/13)
18.104.22.168.6.1 Regaining Eligibility for Two Contests. [FBS/FCS] A student-athlete who is ineligible, pursuant to Bylaw 22.214.171.124.6, to compete in the first four contests of a playing season against outside competition may regain eligibility to compete in the third and fourth contests of that season, provided he or she successfully completes at least 27 semester hours or 40 quarter hours of academic credit before the beginning of the next fall term. A student-athlete in his or her initial year of full-time collegiate enrollment may use credit hours earned at the certifying institution during the summer prior to initial full-time enrollment and credit hours earned during the summer following the regular academic year to satisfy the 27 semester/40 quarter credit-hours requirement. (Adopted: 4/28/11 effective 8/1/11, Revised: 2/6/12)
Basically, Ellison did not complete at least nine semester hours during the 2014 Fall Semester, but did complete at least 27 semester hour before the 2015 Fall Semester. This is a good turn around academically for Ellison, especially with the recent arrival of his new-born son, Cooper.
With Ellison out, the Eagles will more than likely look to Junior quarterback Favian Upshaw. Splitting time on the field with Ellison, Upshaw was able to complete 70-percent of his passes, averaging 10.6 yards per completion. Upshaw also ran the ball 40 times, averaging 9.6 yards per rush, with two touchdowns.
The Eagles will also rely heavily on their running backs to keep the ball moving on the ground. Junior and Maxwell Award Watch List running back Matt Breida will look to expand upon his 2014 campaign, rushing for 1,485 yards and 17 touchdowns. Eagles running back L.A. Ramsby is looking to improve on last year’s, when he rushed for 691 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The Eagles will be missing out on Ellison’s speed and accuracy. Last year, the Junior quarterback passed for 1,001 yards, and rushed for 1,096 yards. While Ellison may be missing in two crucial out of conference games, Eagle fans can rest easy knowing Upshaw, Breida and Ramsby can run the show in his absence.
Main Photo via Getty Images.