Oklahoma linebacker Mike Balogun will try to settle his eligibility issues out of court

Published on August 26, 2009 by     

sp-bcs_champions_0499636735Oklahoma linebacker Mike Balogun will try to settle his eligibility issues out of court.

A Cleveland County judge had been set to hear arguments Monday on whether to extend an injunction and allow Balogun to play for the No. 3 Sooners, but NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said the hearing “was postponed to allow for the existing eligibility certification process to be completed by the NCAA Eligibility Center.”

The NCAA decertified Balogun’s eligibility earlier this month, and the senior middle linebacker subsequently filed a lawsuit against the NCAA.

Even if a judge had ruled that Balogun could play this season, that still wouldn’t have settled the issue. If Balogun eventually lost his lawsuit, Oklahoma may have had to forfeit any games that he played.

Sooners coach Bob Stoops said after practice Monday that he wasn’t involved in the process, but expressed hope that Balogun and the NCAA could “just work through it.”

Balogun’s status is particularly crucial for the Sooners after they lost reserve middle linebacker Tom Wort to a knee injury last week. If Balogun can’t play, Oklahoma may have to do some shuffling behind starter Ryan Reynolds, who has suffered three knee injuries in his college career.

At issue is whether Balogun played for a semipro football team after he turned 21 years old. If he did, he stands to lose one year of college eligibility for each corresponding year that he played semipro ball.

Balogun contends in his lawsuit that he played for the Maryland Marauders of the North American Football League from June 2003 until August 2004 – prior to his 21st birthday. He also claims that he paid for all of his own expenses.

The lawsuit includes an affidavit from former Maryland Marauders owner Gary Rice stating that Balogun only played for the team in 2003 and 2004. Glass filed three additional affidavits Friday from other semipro football officials who were either unfamiliar with Balogun or unaware of his participation beyond age 21. The court made the affidavits available Monday.

Balogun’s attorney, Woody Glass, did not return telephone calls to his office Monday.

Glass told The Oklahoman newspaper he hopes the NCAA will make a ruling before the Sooners’ season opener Sept. 5 against No. 20 BYU at the Dallas Cowboys’ new stadium in Arlington, Texas. However, Osburn said that although the NCAA had been in touch with Glass, it had no timeframe for its decision.

© 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

via News from The Associated Press.

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