NCAA cites Ferris’ use of ineligible football player as key factor in seeding process

Ferris’ Robert Thomas III looks for running room during a game earlier this season. Ferris will host Harding on Saturday in a first-round NCAA football game. (Pioneer file photo)

BIG RAPIDS — When the NCAA Division II football playoff pairings were announced on Sunday, Ferris football fans received an answer to two questions.

Whatever happened to the situation involving the use in four games of an ineligible player and why did an 11-0 team ranked No 2 in the country, not get a No. 1 seed in one of the four regionals?

Ferris officially received the school’s fifth consecutive NCAA Division II playoff appearance as the No. 2 seed in Super Region 3 during the official NCAA Selection Show on Sunday evening.

Ferris has a home first-round playoff game this Saturday against seventh-seeded Harding (Ark.) at Top Taggart Field. Kickoff will be at noon.

The No. 1 seed in the region went to Ouachita Baptist (Ark.) 11-0, which then gets the region’s first-round bye.

Indications from the NCAA were that the denial of a No 1 seed for Ferris came from the reported use of an ineligible player in the team’s first four games. A month ago, news reports indicated defensive lineman Dan Perry was actually ineligible when he saw limited action in the first four games. Ferris officials cited the complicity of Perry’s transfer status and an error in interpreting the NCAA rules.

Perry initially wrestled for Michigan in the 2016-17 school year, then transferred to Kent State to play football in the fall of 2017. When he moved again to Ferris State, he should have been required to sit out a full year under the NCAA’s one-time transfer rule, the reports said. Ferris reported the situation to the NCAA.

“Ferris State did have a nullification (penalty) which is a statistical penalty which is imposed,” Reid Amos, the chair of the Division 2 championship committee, said during the televised selection show, referring to the ineligible player issue. “That statistical point was enough to give Quachita Baptist the No. 1 spot but not enough to put Ferris lower than second.”

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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