NCAA mulls whether to give Cincy QB Mauk another year of eligibility

Updated: January 29, 2008, 7:29 PM ET
Associated Press

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati quarterback Ben Mauk has provided the NCAA with more information about his surgically rebuilt passing shoulder, hoping to get another season of eligibility to play for the Bearcats.

Mauk overcame a career-threatening injury while leading the Bearcats to a No. 17 final ranking, the best finish in school history. With Mauk running a spread offense, the Bearcats finished 10-3, including a 31-21 victory over Southern Mississippi in the PapaJohns.com Bowl.

"I want to come back," Mauk said Tuesday in a phone interview. "I'm excited about what we can do next year. I think the numbers we put up this year can be a lot higher next year."

Whether he gets the chance will depend upon whether the NCAA counts his final season at Wake Forest toward his eligibility.

Mauk started the Demon Deacons' season opener in 2006, but didn't make it through the game. He dislocated his passing shoulder and broke his passing arm while trying to recover a fumble, ending his season.

Doctors inserted a metal plate and eight screws in his upper right arm, and three anchors in his shoulder to repair the damage. He came to Cincinnati last season unsure whether he would ever play.

The arm got stronger as the season went along, and Mauk developed into one of the Big East's top passers. He threw for 3,121 yards and 31 touchdowns with only nine interceptions.

Mauk was hoping to hear from the NCAA this week about his eligibility request. Instead, it asked for more information about his injury.

"Yesterday they came back and said they need a letter from the Wake Forest doctor that did the surgery, saying that there's no way I could have come back and played the year I got hurt," Mauk said. "It's kind of positive because they didn't say no. At the same time, they haven't made a ruling yet."

While he waits, Mauk has been trying to get his arm in better shape.

He had to miss one full game and parts of others early last season because of pain and tightness in the shoulder. After he tore some scar tissue, the arm got better but still hurt with each throw.

He had surgery in Cincinnati on Dec. 26 to clean out the shoulder. He was cleared to resume full workouts this week.

"Hopefully I won't have the same pain I had this year," he said.

Doctors said the arm was strong enough to remove the plate and screws, but Mauk wasn't keen on the recovery time.

"They talked about removing the stuff from my arm, but that's another six to eight weeks [of rehabilitation]," Mauk said. "We just left it in there. It wasn't causing too much of a problem."

While he waits for the NCAA's decision, Mauk has been completing his graduate work. He's also working with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to reach out to youths, using his experiences in football as motivation.

"If I can touch a life by what I say, football is definitely worth it," he said.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press