Cincinnati apparently is ready to move on without Ben Mauk.
Bearcats coach Brian Kelly told the Cincinnati Enquirer that he won't allow last year's starting quarterback on the field before his legal wrangling is cleared up. Mauk obtained a temporary restraining order on Thursday allowing him to practice and play for Cincinnati. The NCAA had declared Mauk's career over again last week after multiple appeals by the quarterback to obtain a sixth year of eligibility.
The hearing on the injunction is Aug. 22. Kelly pointed out that his program could be in trouble for playing an ineligible athlete if he allows Mauk to practice.
"Now if he goes to court -- I've never heard of it -- but if they beat the NCAA on something and he's cleared, sure we'd bring him back under those circumstances," Kelly told the Enquirer. "But I think you've got a better chance of me losing 20 pounds in the next three weeks."
Big East associate commissioner for compliance Joe D'Antonio told CBSSports.com that the issue comes down to Mauk's two years of non-competition. In 2003 he wasn't able to play at Wake Forest due to injuries. In 2006, he transferred to Cincinnati after being knocked out of Wake's opener with a broken arm. D'Antonio said the NCAA was looking for evidence that Mauk missed both 2003 and 2006 because of medical issues.
Mauk was seeking a waiver to the five-year eligibility bylaw, 30.6.
"He lost a year due to injury. He lost a year when he transferred," D'Antonio said last month. "You have to show that two of the years you lost were because of incapacitating injury. He can't show that. That's what they (Mauk) were trying to present is that there were extenuating circumstances."
Kelly said last month that if Mauk won his appeal he would immediately be made the starter. The coach spoke with No. 1 quarterback Dustin Grutza standing next to him at Big East media day. That was also before Mauk filed the restraining order.
Mauk would be a huge boost to the Bearcats who are coming off their first 10-win season since 1951. He threw for 31 touchdowns and more than 3,000 yards in 2007.
If Mauk somehow becomes eligible on or after Aug. 22, that would give him less than a week to prepare for Cincinnati's Aug. 28 opener against Eastern Kentucky.