Balogun files suit to remain eligible
Oklahoma linebacker Mike Balogun has filed suit against the NCAA in his hopes of playing his senior season amid eligibility questions stemming from an earlier career playing semi-pro football.
Online records show that Balogun filed a civil lawsuit Tuesday in Cleveland County District Court, which then issued the temporary restraining order. Balogun's civil suit against the NCAA seeks more than $10,000 in damages.
A hearing is scheduled Monday afternoon before Oklahoma District Judge Tom A. Lucas.
The eligibility of the senior linebacker was called into question by the NCAA as it investigates whether Balogun played semi-pro football after his 21st birthday. If he did, Balogun could forfeit his final season of eligibility at Oklahoma.
Balogun, 25, did not play football in his final two seasons in high school in Upper Marlboro, Md. Instead, he worked in construction to help support his family. During that time, he also played for two semi-pro teams.
In 2006, Balogun tried out for Lackawanna College in Pennsylvania and made the team. After playing there for two years, he joined Oklahoma for the 2008 season after Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables learned about him through an online scouting service.
Before arriving at Oklahoma, Balogun was interviewed by the NCAA about his previous football career and then certified his eligibility in May 2008. But Oklahoma officials told the Oklahoman that "more information came to light" after last season regarding Balogun's semi-pro career.
NCAA rules stipulate that football players lose a season of eligibility for each year of semi-pro ball they play after turning 21.
Balogun had been able to practice with the Sooners until Wednesday. After that, he was expected to be held out of practice until his eligibility for the upcoming season is determined.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops told reporters late Tuesday he was unaware of any change in Balogun's practice status.
"I play guys they allow me to play," Stoops said. "The people that are involved in all of that will handle it all. They tell me whether a guy is capable of playing or not. That's what I get involved in."
Balogun started two games and appeared in 10 for the Sooners last season, including their 24-14 loss to Florida in the BCS National Championship Game. In that game, he had a season-high six tackles.
In preseason camp, Balogun is in the mix for playing time at middle linebacker behind projected starter Ryan Reynolds, who is recovering from knee surgery that caused him to miss the final eight games of last season.
Balogun has been unavailable for comment since the NCAA's action last week.
Tim Griffin covers the Big 12 for ESPN.com. Contact him at email@example.com.
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