University's mistake costs one of its top football recruits the upcoming season

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- One of Indiana's top football recruits is ineligible to play this year because of a mistake made by the school. 

Indiana University has apologized to defensive back Bryant Fitzgerald for a mistake that will cost him his first year of eligibility.

In a statement issued Saturday, athletic director Fred Glass acknowledged the school's compliance office failed to properly advise Fitzgerald of his eligibility requirements.

This was a mistake by the Department, not Fitzgerald and not the football program," said Glass. 

Indiana appealed to the NCAA on Aug. 3. It was denied Friday.

Glass also says the school has changed the process to ensure a similar mistake will not occur in the future. He also criticized the NCAA for not granting the waiver when it "could have and should have."

“Bryant Fitzgerald is a smart, outstanding young man who is academically prepared and capable of being very successful at IU,” said IU Vice President and Director of Athletics Fred Glass. “His ineligibility is not his fault. It is ours. On behalf of myself and everyone associated with IU Athletics, I personally apologize to Bryant and his family for our mistake. While it was an isolated and unintended one, it is no less devastating to Bryant, and I could not feel worse about it. The process leading to the mistake has been fixed and redundancies added, and we are very confident nothing like this will ever happen again. I am very disappointed in the NCAA for not granting our waiver request for our appeal. Bryant should not have to bear the brunt of our mistake, and the NCAA could have, and should have, remedied that in the interest of this student’s well-being, who is in this situation through absolutely no fault of his own.” 

Fitzgerald, a defensive back, will remain on full scholarship and will receive all student-athlete services but, as a non-qualifier, cannot play in games or practice this season.

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