Star wide receiver Corey Smith played his last game for Buchtel in December, when the Griffins lost in the Division III state championship game.
A volunteer who helps the Buchtel football team with academics and compliance uncovered information that showed this past season was Smith's fourth in high school.
A teacher suggested coach Ricky Powers check the number of years he'd played high school football. Powers learned that Smith spent two years at another school and two at Buchtel.
He struggled his freshman year and an expulsion while a sophomore at Barberton still counts toward his athletic eligibility as far as the NCAA is concerned.
''I felt like I let my team down, kind of, but now that I think about it, I have to make my best decision,'' said the 6-foot, 175-pound receiver.
According to the NCAA's athletic eligibility rules: ''to participate in Division I athletics or receive an athletics schol Please see Buchtel , C6
Continued from Page C1
arship during the first year of college, a student-athlete must complete the 16 core-course requirement in eight semesters.''
Although Smith remained academically eligible for sports, his core work remained behind because of his prior issues. In order for him to be compliant with NCAA rules, he would have to graduate with the class of 2011.
''He could play another year of high school football, but the reason we won't allow him to come back here and play high school football is he won't be able to take what he deserves which is a Division I scholarship,'' Powers said.
Instead, Smith will attend a still-to-be determined junior college for two years. Before he can play for a Division I school, he will have to have enough credits to complete 40 percent of his undergraduate degree based on a five-year timetable, according to NCAA rules.
Smith, who caught 52 passes for more than 1,100 yards and scored 16 touchdowns last fall, has drawn interest from schools across the nation.
He said he has offers from Tennessee, West Virginia, Illinois, Michigan State and has a strong interest in Ohio State despite not having an offer.
George M. Thomas can be reached at email@example.com. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohiomm.com/blogs/varsity_letters/. Also on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ABJ_Varsity.