On Thursday, the University of Tulsa found out that wide receiver Bryan Burnham has been denied a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA Division I Appeals Committee.
"This is not the response we had hoped to receive from the NCAA," said Tulsa head coach Bill Blankenship. "We're extremely disappointed, but we're more disappointed for Bryan than us. The fact that he only played three quarters in 2012 is upsetting because he prepared so hard for his senior season.
"Even since the injury, Bryan has done everything needed to get himself in shape for an opportunity to join his teammates on the field."
On March 19th, the University's petition seeking an eligibility waiver for the fifth-year senior was denied by the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee, and TU immediately filed an appeal with the NCAA Division I Appeals Committee. The general NCAA eligibility rule states that student-athletes must complete four years of eligibility within a five-year time period.
Burnham suffered a season ending ACL injury to his right knee in the fourth quarter of the first game of last season. He had already caught a team-high nine passes for 90 yards in the contest, which was at Iowa State. In 2008, Burnham missed an entire season due to an illness that prevented him from playing.
"It is a disappointment," said Burnham. "The reason I wanted to come back and play again was for my teammates. I appreciate everything TU has done for me, not only in trying to secure a sixth year, but through my entire career. I am ready to move on now."
The 6-foot-2 and 197-pounder from Moorestown, New Jersey, played in 25 career games with 14 starts. Burnham began his TU career as a defensive back before moving to offense in the fall of 2010, and he caught 63 passes for 940 yards and nine touchdowns in his career.
In 2011, Burnham was Tulsa's leading receiver with 54 receptions for 850 yards and nine touchdowns. He received his bachelor's degree in History this past December and has been pursuing a second degree in organizational studies.