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BYU runner twice wronged by NCAA, granted eligibility for senior year

By Mike Singer |

Jared Ward was granted his eligibility on Thursday. (BYU photo)

The NCAA has changed its tune regarding BYU All-American cross-country runner Jared Ward, granting him his eligibility for his senior year after The Deseret News and numerous other outlets highlighted the runner's plight earlier this week.

Ward had twice been denied appeals after the NCAA ruled he gained a competitive advantage by taking part in a recreational fun-run. That is, of course, absurd. Ward spent two years after high school fulfilling missionary work, and by entering a race – where some of the participants were wearing gorilla and bird costumes – the NCAA said that he gained an unfair advantage by competing before his enrollment at BYU.

Fortunately, a five-person NCAA committee caved on Thursday, giving Ward a chance to compete with his fifth-ranked team in the upcoming NCAA championships. It's all that's left of his senior season.

It's the third time in the past few months that the NCAA, after being taken to task by fans and the media, has reversed a ruling.

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