Nathan Harries appeals penalty

Colgate freshman Nathan Harries has been denied a year of eligibility for playing in an unsanctioned church league, but the school is appealing because the case is a little more complicated than it would initially appear.

Harries, who averaged 17.6 points as a senior at Atlanta's Centennial High School, spent the past two years on a Mormon mission in Raleigh, N.C.

Last summer, upon his return home, he played three games in a league at Dunwoody Baptist Church. That would violate an NCAA rule that stipulates that athletes who do not enroll immediately after graduating from high school will be penalized one year of eligibility for every academic year they participate in organized competition (which includes an official score and referees).

Colgate asked for a waiver, which was denied, and is now appealing the decision. The subcommittee handling the appeal was expected to meet this week.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported the story.

At issue are the amount of games Harries participated in -- just three as a fill-in -- and the legitimacy of the league, made up mostly of older men trying to stay in shape.

"It's like an old man's league," Michael Harries told the Journal-Constitution. "I could play in it."

Colgate coach Matt Langel refused comment, citing the pending appeal.

There is precedent for winning the appeal. Earlier this year, Middle Tennessee State football player Steven Rhodes was initially denied eligibility as a freshman because he participated in several recreational games while serving in the Marines. Middle Tennessee argued that the league was a glorified intramural league and hardly qualified as an organized league.

The NCAA ultimately reversed its decision.