Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Although Florida Atlantic senior defensive end Josh Pinnick is expected to miss the rest of this season after suffering a serious knee injury Saturday against North Texas, he could return next season thanks to a recent NCAA rule change, an FAU official said.
An NCAA policy concerning the maximum number of games in which a student-athlete can play before exhausting a year of eligibility was changed this year to 30 percent of a team's schedule, up from 20 percent in past years.
The change means a player who plays in less than four full football games could receive a medical redshirt, according to FAU Director of Compliance Ed Hayward.
"We would have to apply to our conference office that the injury kept the student-athlete from playing the rest of the season," Hayward said.
Since Pinnick was injured in the fourth game, he could receive an extra year of eligibility.
Under the old rule, Pinnick's college career, for all intents and purposes, would be over. Pinnick is a fifth-year senior who used 2003 as a redshirt season when he practiced with the team but didn't play to preserve a year of eligibility.
Whether to use the sixth season would be up to Pinnick, who is on track to graduate in December.
Pinnick had an MRI exam on Monday and doctors are expected to give the results to FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger and Pinnick today, according to FAU sports information director Katrina McCormack.
Schnellenberger said Sunday that Pinnick was going to be out "a long period of time" and he didn't expect Pinnick to be back this season.
Tests done on junior defensive tackle Josh Savidge, who also suffered a knee injury in FAU's 30-20 victory against North Texas, revealed the damage may not be as serious as originally thought.
Savidge will have surgery but could come back sooner than thought, Schnellenberger said on his radio show Monday night.
"If they have any luck when they go in there with the arthroscope and the cartilage is not too badly damaged, he could be back in two to four weeks and the worst case scenario would be six weeks," Schnellenberger said.