ATLANTA -- Georgia Tech quarterback Reggie Ball has been
ruled academically ineligible for the Gator Bowl.
Cornerback Kenny Scott also is academically ineligible, the
school said Wednesday.
"You're disappointed for the young men, and you're disappointed
for the team," coach Chan Gailey said. "Although this is a very,
very bad ending to the careers of these two young men, we can't
forget the contributions they have made to the Georgia Tech program
the last four years."
Ball passed for 1,820 yards this season while starting every
game. He threw for 20 touchdowns and was intercepted 14 times, but
was criticized for inconsistency, especially after Tech's offense
sputtered in a regular season-ending loss to Georgia and a loss to
Wake Forest in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.
The four-year starter from Stone Mountain, Ga., compiled 8,579
yards of total offense, including 8,128 passing yards with 57
touchdowns during his career.
Scott, from Daytona Beach, Fla., was a three-year starter. This
season he had 50 tackles, two interceptions and 10 pass breakups.
Gailey said backup quarterback Taylor Bennett would start for
Tech against West Virginia in the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1 in
Jacksonville, Fla., and Jahi Word-Daniels would take Scott's place
Bennett completed 16 of 29 passes during the season, with two
touchdowns and one interception. Gailey said Bennett has not had
much preparation so far and "would be busy" in practice this week
Tech officials said they could not be more specific on the
nature of the academic ineligibility, but Gailey said Ball and
Bennett were eligible at the beginning of the semester. Student
athletes have to meet NCAA and school standards for completion of a
required number of courses and grade point average in order to
Georgia Tech students have just completed exams. Gailey said he
learned earlier in the day that Ball would be ineligible. He said
he talked to Scott earlier this week.
The coach said he hoped both would be able to graduate.
The academic progress of players is monitored "on a regular
basis" by the athlectics staff, but "when you get to be a senior,
you get to rely more on their evaluation," Gailey said.