Special waiver a relief for Simmons

Updated: August 23, 2003, 2:48 AM ET
Associated Press

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Former Clemson quarterback Willie Simmons will be allowed to play for The Citadel this season, the school said Friday.

The NCAA approved a special waiver for its one-time transfer rule that allows Simmons to play for South Carolina's military college even though he had transferred to Florida A&M last spring.

"It feels great," Simmons said after his eighth practice as a Bulldog. "I'm just very appreciative of everyone here."

Simmons lost his starter's job at Clemson after he was ineffective leading the Tigers in their first eight games in 2002.

He stayed through spring practice trying to win the job back from sophomore Charlie Whitehurst, but in May, Simmons chose to leave.

He first transferred to Division I-AA Florida A&M, close to his home in Quincy, Fla. Simmons could only play immediately in a lower division.

However, the Rattlers are moving up to Division I-A next season and the NCAA ruled they had to abide by all regulations of the higher classification -- including making transfers like Simmons sit out a year.

That's when he headed back to South Carolina. Simmons, who said he never doubted he would be playing for Bulldogs, a Division I-AA team in the Southern Conference.

"I just feel relieved right now," Simmons said. "I'm a firm believer in everything happens for a reason."

The Bulldogs open Aug. 30 against Charleston Southern.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press