NCAA decertifies Balogun's eligibility

Updated: August 14, 2009, 3:20 PM ET
By Tim Griffin | ESPN.com

NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma senior linebacker Mike Balogun's eligibility has been decertified by the NCAA because of his previous participation in a semi-pro football league, putting his 2009 season in jeopardy.

Balogun will be able to practice with the Sooners until Wednesday, but could be sidelined after that time.

"He has until next Wednesday to practice and from there, we'll see what they determine," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said Friday. "From what I understand the precedent is not to have anything to do with last year. He was certified last year. He's decertified now. So now is the issue."

Balogun, 25, worked in construction following high school before enrolling in Lackawanna (Pa.) Community College. He also played some semi-pro football during that period in the North American Football League.

The matter being reviewed is whether Balogun played in any games after the age of 21. Any participation during each 12-month period after his 21st birthday would result in a corresponding loss of a season of college eligibility.

Oklahoma officials said the NCAA was aware of Balogun had played in the league before the 2008 season. The NCAA then interviewed him, reviewed the information, and certified him last May.

But more information was revealed to the school after the 2008 season, which was then shared with the NCAA.

Balogun played nine games last season, including two starts. He was pressed into the starting lineup for the Sooners' national title game against Florida, where he produced a season-high six tackles.

On the Sooners' depth chart, Ryan Reynolds has re-emerged to take the starting job at middle linebacker after missing the final eight games of the 2008 season with a knee injury. Balogun was in a battle for playing time behind him with freshmen Jayden Bird and Tom Wort.

"There's still a bunch of [middle linebackers] in there," Stoops said. "It doesn't do anything other than he can't practice after Wednesday. We'll see where it goes from there."

Tim Griffin covers college football for ESPN.com. You may contact him at espntimgriff@yahoo.com