Quarterback to appeal denial of sixth year of eligibility

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The NCAA denied South Carolina quarterback
Mike Rathe's request to reconsider his application for a sixth year
of eligibility.

The university announced the NCAA's decision Wednesday and Rathe
said he plans to appeal.

The NCAA had initially rejected Rathe's request to extend the
five-year window for football eligibility.

Rathe attended the University of San Diego and Mesa Community
College before transferring to South Carolina. He requested the
additional year because he missed a full season with a broken
finger before he got to South Carolina.

"We have been waiting for three months so I am disappointed,"
Rathe said in a statement released by the university. "But we are
not dead yet because we have an appeal left.

"We will try to keep a positive attitude until the end and hope
for the best."

The 23-year-old played in five games in 2003, his first season
with the Gamecocks, completing two passes for 24 yards with two

Last season he had his most notable moment with South Carolina,
tossing a 19-yard touchdown pass to Troy Williamson with 1:28 to go
in a 12-7 victory against Kentucky.

For his South Carolina career, Rathe was 14 of 26 for 167 yards
with two touchdown passes and three interceptions.

Rathe was one of several quarterbacks competing for the starting
job during spring practice for new coach Steve Spurrier.