Bob Stoops tells Toby Rowland that freshman D.J. Ward has been cleared to practice and will play in Saturday's Spring Game.— SoonerSportsNetwork (@OUontheAir) April 9, 2013
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops announced Tuesday afternoon that freshman defensive end D.J. Ward had finally been cleared by the NCAA and can now participate with the team in spring practices.
Ward graduated high school early and was allowed to enroll in the university, but up until this point he had not been allowed to take part in practices per NCAA rules.
As you may or may not remember, Ward was forced to miss his senior season when he was ruled ineligible by the OSSAA after multiple transfers between three different high schools. Originally a star for Lawton, Ward and his family moved into temporary housing in Moore, OK after his father took a new job at Douglass High School. The family filed for a hardship waiver since they were not currently living with the Douglass district and Ward was eventually cleared to play. However, his time at Douglass would be brief as Ward would only one week later transfer again and enroll at nearby Southmoore. Ward and his family would file another waiver with the OSSAA and be forced to wait on their decision.
Three weeks into Southmoore's football season, the OSSAA handed down their ruling. Ward could either return to Douglass and be eligible to play varsity football or he could stay at Southmoore and be forced to play for the junior varsity.
Presumably fed up with the entire process, Ward later declared, via his Twitter account, that he would not be playing football anywhere for his senior season. As mentioned above, he would go on to graduate high school early and enrolled at Oklahoma this past January. As many of you know, the NCAA Clearinghouse operates on their own timeline and are rarely, if ever, in a hurry to clear any athlete. When you've transferred to three different high schools in the span of several months, it tends to slow down the clearance process even further.
With Tuesday's news however, the saga is finally over for Ward and finally he can get back to simply playing football again.