FSU blew whistle on OU's Mike Balogun

Jake Trotter Modified: August 21, 2009 at 7:29 pm •  Published: August 20, 2009
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photo - Oklahoma associate head coach defensive coordinator linebackers Brent Venables, right, talks to  Mike  Balogun (10) during football practice at Barry University in Miami, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. Oklahoma plays Florida in the BCS Championship NCAA college football game on Thursday, Jan. 8. (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)
Oklahoma associate head coach defensive coordinator linebackers Brent Venables, right, talks to Mike Balogun (10) during football practice at Barry University in Miami, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. Oklahoma plays Florida in the BCS Championship NCAA college football game on Thursday, Jan. 8. (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)

/> Felton told OU compliance he thought Balogun played for the Marauders from 2004-06, suggesting Balogun participated in semi-pro football well after his 21st birthday. University officials passed along this information to the NCAA, which renewed its investigation about Balogun’s semi-pro history.

However, a sworn affidavit obtained by OU compliance and produced in the lawsuit from the former owner of the Marauders contradicts what Felton told OU compliance.

In the affidavit, Gary Rice states that Balogun only participated with the Marauders during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. The Marauders’ season went from June-September. In his own sworn affidavit, Balogun also states he didn’t play for the Marauders past 2004, which means he would’ve completed his semi-pro career prior to turning 21.

But information on the Internet counters those affidavits.

On the NAFL’s Web site, Balogun is listed in a recap and box score of the 2005 NAFL title game, played in Orlando, Fla., on Nov. 12, 2005. According to the Web site, Balogun recorded seven tackles and recovered a fumble in a 13-10 loss to the West Sound (Wash.) Saints. He would have been 22 in November 2005.

The Web site semiprofootball.org also lists Balogun as a 2005 all-star for the NAFL’s Eastern Conference as a member of the Marauders.

But according to court documents in Balogun’s lawsuit, OU officials interviewed Terry Sullivan, a former commissioner of the NAFL. Sullivan told OU that the NAFL’s information on the Internet was often inaccurate, and after reviewing his records, didn’t believe Balogun had played with the Marauders past the age of 21.

Court documents in the lawsuit do not address Balogun’s stint with the Prince George Jets, a semi-pro team he reportedly joined between playing for the Marauders and enrolling in Lackawanna in the spring of 2006. It is unknown if Balogun played in any games for the Jets.

Balogun has not been available for comment since the announcement that his eligibility was being questioned.

Prior to transferring to OU from Lackawanna, the NCAA interviewed Balogun about his semi-pro past, then certified his eligibility in May 2008.

Balogun played in 10 games last season, including his start in the national title, where he recorded a season-high six tackles. This fall, he was expected to back up starter Ryan Reynolds at middle linebacker.

In his lawsuit, Balogun is seeking at least $10,000 in damages from the NCAA. A court hearing for a temporary injunction is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Monday before Judge Tom Lucas.

Per its clearinghouse rules, the NCAA allowed Balogun to practice with the team through Wednesday. OU officials have said they are not sure whether Balogun will be allowed to keep practicing. But if the injunction is granted, Balogun could be allowed to continue.



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