Late on Friday night we told you Kent State running back Eugene Jarvis would be granted a sixth year of eligibility for the 2010 season. Kent State held a press conference this afternoon in Kent to officially announce the decision. Kent State beat writer Stephanie Storm was in attendance...
By Stephanie Storm Beacon Journal sports writer
KENT: Five months to the day after his season ended prematurely to injury, Eugene Jarvis learned he still has some football left to play at Kent State.
Late Friday afternoon, Kent State's senior associate athletic director Bob Heller received a much-awaited call from the NCAA informing him the school's appeal for a sixth season for Jarvis, a senior running back, had been approved.
''Now we can move to the next level and get this young No. 6 on the field,'' KSU Athletics Director Laing Kennedy said at a news conference at the school Monday afternoon, flanked by Heller, Jarvis and KSU coach Doug Martin.
''I knew I was supposed to hear something within the week, but it was a long waiting process,'' Jarvis said. ''When [Heller] told me I got my year, it didn't hit me right away. It still hasn't yet, as I'm just so thankful.
''I especially want to thank my head coach. For him to go to bat like that for me really speaks volumes about how much he cares about his players.''
The KSU athletic and compliance staff felt strongly about Jarvis' return after he suffered a kidney injury in a game at Boston College.
But what doctors found in surgery surprised them: Jarvis had just one kidney. Suddenly it seemed not only was Jarvis' season over, but probably his playing career as well.
With Jarvis still in the hospital recuperating, an emotional Martin sent a stern message to the NCAA that if anyone deserved an extra season for unforeseen circumstances, Jarvis was the poster boy.
''He's been a great student here, been a great leader here,'' Martin said. ''He's been great for the community,and he's been great for our conference.
''Eugene was the team captain for us last year, as voted on by the players. He's one of the best backs in this conference and probably in the country, in my opinion.''
The problem was getting the college governing body to agree.
''Every waiver case is different based on the circumstances,'' Heller said. ''Once they have an opportunity to review the facts, oftentimes the NCAA will go back to the institutions and ask for more information.''
In Jarvis' case, Heller said the NCAA called with questions ''several times'' before making its decision, inquiring more about a ''mitigating circumstance that kept Jarvis from playing as a true freshman,'' according to a school news release.
In the end, Jarvis' eligibility case was an emotional roller coaster ride not only for him, but for a handful of those involved at the school as well.
''There were times they would ask for information and we'd respond, and it was safe to assume that was the only questions they had,'' Heller said.
''Then they'd come back, perhaps a week later, after reviewing that and it might raise other questions, or someone on the staff would ask for a clarification on something. It was one of those where you thought you had it, and then you weren't quite sure.''
When the call came, it was a joyous occasion that called for celebration.
''Words can't explain how I feel right now,'' said Jarvis, who will wear a special protective flak jacket along with his football pads next season to protect his lone kidney. ''I feel good, I'm 100 percent healed, and I can't wait to get back out on the field with my teammates.''
The Kent Sports Report has posted the audio from this afternoon's press conference.