Canadian high schoolers fill the dreams of hockey fans, but the Gators are trying to pull one in to play wide receiver. Recruit Stephen Alli, who was born in Toronto and played high school ball in the hot bed of New Hampshire, is expected to enroll at UF for Fall classes. As always, we go to Jeremy Fowler for the details;
Alli told the Sentinel today through email that he faced an all-or-nothing scenario -- leave a year early, or wait the entire year. Gators coaches originally inquired about Alli coming for spring practices, but Proctor [Academy] originally requested that Alli fulfill his two-year commitment to the Academy.
"I had to stay the full year, but because of my academic load I had finished my core courses so I had the right credits to graduate," Alli said. "So I did. I should be at camp on Thursday."
If Alli is a legit student (he was recruited by Harvard, so I assume so), then at the very least, he gets a year in Gainesville before he can play. But, Fowler hypothesizes that Alli can play and that he could still have a four-year athletic scholarship waiting after playing this season as a walk-on.
Dr. Saturday throws water on that, noting the possible issues Alli and Florida could face.
Is he eligible to practice? And if he's eligible to practice, is he eligible to play in games? If he's actually enrolled in school, why shouldn't he be? If not, does this year count against his future eligibility -- is it an automatic redshirt year, or will he still have "five to play four" through 2014? What if he decides to leave Florida before actually committing his name to the athletic scholarship on signing day -- would the normal transfer rules (i.e. a mandatory year on the bench) apply, or would he be free to sign anywhere else that might offer him and play right away?
The NCAA does not respond well to new issues, unless they can make some coin off them. My guess then is that Alli can play, filling a shallow position in the Gator offense. If the NCAA is brought in to rule, only then would Alli be removed. But if the kid is a student, he has the right to play.