Iowa transfer situation leaves wiggle room

Updated: January 23, 2004, 9:06 PM ET
Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Illinois quarterback Jon Beutjer was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA on Friday.

Beutjer, who started seven games last season before being sidelined by a back injury, had asked for the extra year before last season started because of the circumstances surrounding his transfer from Iowa in 2001.

Beutjer began his college career with the Hawkeyes in 1999, but left the school after sustaining a concussion during a fight with his teammate and roommate over payment of a cable television bill. Beutjer said he was disappointed with how Iowa coaches handled the situation.

The NCAA's Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee announced its decision Friday.

"This is a great opportunity, and I am just very thankful to Coach (Ron) Turner, the university and the NCAA for being so supportive of my desire to play another year of collegiate football," Beutjer said in a statement issued by the school.

After his transfer, Beutjer sat out the 2001 season at Illinois as required by NCAA rules. He became the Illini's starting quarterback midway through the 2002 season and started the first seven games last season before a herniated disc caused him to miss the last five games.

He has passed for 4,008 yards and 31 touchdowns in two seasons.

"We certainly are glad to have him for another season, and he obviously adds a lot to our team," Turner said. "I know this is something he really wanted."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press