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Mormon college basketball player ruled ineligible by NCAA for playing church ball

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 6 2013 4:20 p.m. MST

The NCAA has stripped one year of eligibility from Colgate freshman Nathan Harries because he admitted to playing in three church basketball games.

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Last summer, Colgate freshman Nathan Harries played in three church basketball games. It was little more than a few pick-up games with older men who wanted exercise.

No big deal, right?

Wrong. When the NCAA found out, it declared Harries, an honors student and returned Mormon missionary, ineligible for the upcoming season, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Wednesday.

“Some of the rulings that come from the NCAA don’t make sense," Michael Harries, Nathan's father, told the Journal-Constitution. "Johnny Manziel gets a half-game suspension for signing autographs. A guy plays three games in a church league, and he loses a year. Obviously there’s a difference between big-time athletes and small-time athletes with the NCAA.”

According to the article, Harries returned home from his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in North Carolina in June. As he worked to regain his basketball form, a friend invited him to play in a local church league because a team was short players.

Before heading off to Colgate, Harries filled out a standard NCAA questionaire in which he was asked if he had played any organized sports over the past two years. He said yes without giving the matter a second thought. He was declared ineligible a week later.

Colgate has filed an appeal.

“You know what’s crazy?” Michael Harries said in the article. “There’s one player on Colgate (Murphy Burnatowski) who plays for the Canadian (development) national team. So the NCAA says you can play in Europe against the U.S., Russia, Brazil, Australia, the Czech Republic and Sweden, but you can’t play in a church league. The whole thing is absurd.”

For the rest of the article, visit www.myajc.com.

Email: ttoone@desnews.com Twitter: tbtoone

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