'Pops' gets the go-ahead
NCAA grants eligibility to South Carolina's 39-year-old walk-on receiever
Posted: Thursday September 23, 2004 6:37PM; Updated: Thursday September 23, 2004 6:40PM
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- "Pops" has gotten the green light from the NCAA to play football at South Carolina.
Tim Frisby, the Gamecocks' 39-year-old walk-on receiver, was granted his eligibility by the NCAA membership services staff, the school said Thursday.
Frisby is expected to be in uniform when the Gamecocks play Troy at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday night.
Frisby, nicknamed Pops by his teammates, recently retired after 20 years in the U.S. Army, where he was Ranger-qualified with the 82nd Airborne. He served in Desert Storm and the Kosovo conflict.
His playing status was on hold because of eligibility concerns with the NCAA Clearinghouse, which certifies the eligibility of college football players and was not in existence when Frisby graduated from an Allentown, Pa., high school in 1983.
Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president for member services, said Frisby's unique circumstance "was a key factor for us in making this decision."
Frisby began working out with the Gamecocks during the winter and went through spring practice with the team. He was invited back to South Carolina following summer camp last month.
Frisby caught a pass in the Gamecocks' last preseason scrimmage and dressed out in his No. 89 jersey for the Georgia game on Sept. 11. However, he did not play in South Carolina's 20-16 loss.
"To say that I'm excited would be an understatement," said Frisby, who turns 40 in February. "I'm just so thankful that this request had a happy conclusion."
Frisby is the father of six children ranging in age from 16 to about six months. Coach Lou Holtz has joked that he loves having Frisby on the team because his family boosts game attendance.
On Monday, Holtz said he wanted to play Frisby as soon the NCAA cleared him. "He's going to play this year because he deserves to play," Holtz said.