NCAA re-tees regional bid for phantom player
When the selections for teams and individuals at the NCAA men’s regionals were announced Monday, Maryland’s John Popeck was tabbed to compete in the Radford, Va., site at The Pete Dye River Course.
There's one problem: Popeck, a junior from Washington, Pa., is not on the Terrapins’ golf team.
A spokesperson from Maryland confirmed that Popeck left the team after the fall 2010 season because of personal reasons. Popeck intends to compete with the Terrapins next season.
A phone message left by Golfweek with Tom Hanna, who retired last week after 20 years as the Terrapins' head coach, was not immediately returned.
A total of 45 players were selected to compete in one of six regionals as individuals from non-qualifying teams. According to the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships Handbook, schools are required to report any roster changes to the NCAA.
On page 13 under Certification of Eligibility/Availability, the handbook reads in part: “Member institutions are required to certify the eligibility of their student-athletes before the beginning of each academic year and to withhold ineligible student-athletes from all intercollegiate competition. Member institutions are reminded to notify the NCAA national office before the selection date for each championship of any student-athlete who may have participated in regular-season competition but subsequently is determined to be ineligible or unavailable for NCAA championships competition. The Division I Men’s Golf Championships liaison must be notified before Monday, May 9.”
The NCAA did not have knowledge of Popeck’s withdrawal from the team but has acknowledged the oversight. Marshall’s Christian Brand, a senior from Charleston, W.Va., has been added to the field instead of Popeck. Brand is ranked No. 403 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings; Popeck was No. 151.