CINCINNATI — University of Cincinnati quarterback Ben Mauk had his application for a sixth year of eligibility denied by the NCAA, UC head football coach Brian Kelly announced today.
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The NCAA staff denied Mauk's application for an extension of eligibility based on NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199 that states that a redshirt year is considered within the control of the student-athlete and/or institution and does not constitute a missed participation opportunity. In January of 2008, Mauk attempted to regain the year he lost in 2003 when he sat out the season at Wake Forest University. Although the redshirt season occurred four seasons ago, Mauk was not able to apply for the additional year until the completion of his normal eligibility.
A native of Kenton, Ohio, Mauk spent four years at Wake Forest from 2003-06, before graduating and transferring to Cincinnati for the 2007-08 academic year. He sat out the 2003 season as a redshirt and played in 18 games for the Demon Deacons from 2004-06.
The NCAA allows student-athletes five years, or 15 quarters, to complete their four years of eligibility. According to the NCAA, Mauk's application did not meet the criteria for the five-year/15-quarter waiver.
The starting quarterback at the beginning of Wake Forest's ACC Championship season in 2006, he completed 14-of-21 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown before suffering a season-ending injury vs. Syracuse. Mauk tossed four touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 18 games, over three seasons at WFU.
The NCAA determined that the fall of 2006 was a season in which he was deprived of a participation opportunity and was clearly supported by medical documentation. Mauk's 2003 season did not meet the waiver criteria set forth in the legislation for a sixth year.
"Situations like this are hard when I know how dedicated Ben's life has been to football," Kelly said. "It's unfortunate, but all things considered, he will handle this and continue his career in football whether it be playing or coaching. He will always be a member of the Bearcats."
Mauk played in 12 of 13 games in a Cincinnati uniform during the 2007 season, and set a program record with 31 passing touchdowns. As the head of the UC offense, Mauk helped established school season records for scoring (472 points), touchdowns (63), and passing touchdowns (36).
After leading UC to a No. 17 final Associated Press ranking and a 10-3 finish, that included a victory in the Papajohns.com Bowl, the graduate-transfer ended the year completing 235-of-386 passes (60.9 percent) for 3,121 yards through the air and found himself 11th in the nation in passing efficiency (1 50.64).
Wake Forest University supported the extension of eligibility being granted for Mauk and corroborated the information submitted to the NCAA.
Mauk earned a bachelor's degree in secondary education from Wake Forest University in May of 2007. He continues to pursue a master's degree, in criminal justice at the University of Cincinnati.
The Bearcats were one of two NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision programs to finish in the Top 25 and graduate better than 80 percent of their football playing student-athletes last season.
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