Ferris State, the No. 2-ranked football team in the country in Division II, has acknowledged it played an ineligible player.
The player remains ineligible, but the university, while calling the player's transfer history "complex," said it is working with the NCAA to reinstate his eligibility.
“By design, the eligibility of every student-athlete is certified by the university, independent of the athletics department,” Jeanine Ward-Roof, vice president for student affairs, said in a statement. “The student-athlete’s transfer history was complex, and the error by the department that certifies student-athlete eligibility was the result of a misinterpretation of a transfer rule.”
Ferris State officials are not identifying the player, though multiple media reports, including the NBC affiliate in Grand Rapids, have identified him as Dan Perry.
Perry, a 6-foot-2, 300-pound sophomore from Lapeer East High School, is a defensive lineman who transferred from Kent State. He also previously wrestled at the University of Michigan. He's played four games this season, recording five tackles.
Ferris State (7-0) is coming off a 35-31 victory over rival and then-No. 2 Grand Valley State in Allendale. the Bulldogs received five first-place votes in the national coaches' poll, and is ranked behind only Minnesota State. Grand Valley State dropped to No. 8.
Ferris State plays at Saginaw Valley State on Saturday.
The university is calling the eligibility issue a "secondary NCAA violation," and said when it became aware of the issue, it immediately reported it to the university administration, the NCAA and the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
"Ferris takes great pride in the integrity of its intercollegiate athletics programs in adherence to the highest institutional, GLIAC and NCAA standards," the university said in its statement released Thursday, provided to The News by university spokesperson Sandy Gholston.
The football team is trying to complete a rare double-dip, and join its men's basketball team, which won the Division II national championship this past spring.