Baton Rouge, LA – In a special session held today, the Competition Oversight Committee of the NCAA voted unanimously to ban the use of Leonard Fournette by any collegiate team. Fournette, a sophomore sports administration major at Louisiana State University, has led his team to an impressive 4-0 start behind a league-leading 864 rushing yards.
The Competition Oversight Committee, which is chaired by fellow SEC member, University of Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart, is responsible for overseeing competition of Division I teams and suggesting rules changes. Typically, any changes to league rule are made during the offseason, but NCAA bylaws provide for the calling a special session in extreme cases of competitive imbalance, particularly involving player safety, such as the existence of Fournette.
Regarding the committee’s unusual midseason decision, Barnhart remarked, “The use of Leonard Fournette on a football field diminishes the competitive spirit this League has worked toward for decades and has placed numerous lives in jeopardy.” He went on to say, “The rule shouldn’t even be necessary. Implicit in the NCAA rules is the understanding that only mortals may take the field of play, so this was really more an interpretation than an actual change.”
Some, however, are critical of the decision. LSU head coach Les Miles issued this statement: “I am disappointed that the Committee has taken this unprecedented step. The team is already in the process of appealing the decision and has lodged a formal complaint. This organization took a huge chance recruiting Fournette. Back then, we didn’t know if he would lead this team to three championships, or a mere two, and now we’re being punished for taking such a risk.”
When reached for comment, Fournette stated, “I will crush them all into dust and feast on the bones of everyone they’ve known.”
When asked how the unorthodox NCAA ruling would affect his preparation for today’s game, South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said, “We were able to locate several defensive players who had gone AWOL last week and have now expressed an intent to play this week, so I expect a good team effort.”
In response to a supplementary rules clarification requested by Miles, the Committee has declared that this ruling also applies to Fournette lining up on defense and special teams. Barnhart also stated that the banning of Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman is under consideration and awaiting final vote.