Boston College will open its season Saturday against Wake Forest without starting right defensive tackle B.J. Raji, who has been declared academically ineligible.
There's a distinct possibility he could be finished for the season because of a discrepancy in the number of credits he had accrued toward graduation.
Raji, a 6-foot-1-inch, 325-pound senior, has come up short, although there is some dispute about how many credits he needs to get back on course, or if that is possible.
BC has tried to be low-key about the incident, issuing only a brief statement about Raji's ineligibility and saying his status for upcoming games is uncertain. BC football coach Jeff Jagodzinski has named 6-5, 282-pound junior Jerry Willette as Raji's replacement.
Raji had dealt with academic issues for the past year; last spring he was academically ineligible and was taking courses at night.
The issue was thought to be resolved when he made progress this summer. "I'm getting Bs,'' Raji said early in training camp.
And while Raji appears to be a student in good standing for the semester, which starts Tuesday, the paperwork involving his reinstatement as a full-time student is complicated, involving the school formally applying to have Raji reinstated as a student-athlete.
While NCAA rules allowed Raji to participate in spring drills as a part-time night student last spring, they do not allow him to participate in actual games this fall until he is completely reinstated by the NCAA. The key issue is academic progress.
Such issues go through a committee process. The process can take weeks since the meetings must be convened and cases heard.
When BC athletic director Gene DeFilippo was contacted by phone Friday night, he refused to comment other than to say Raji would not play Saturday and that his status was uncertain.
DeFilippo and BC officials will try to speed up the process to allow Raji to compete next week against North Carolina State, but Friday night that seemed optimistic.
- Michael Vega
- Mark Blaudschun
- Nancy Marrapese-Burrell