“Sports Illustrated-Roberts, a 6’4”, 209-pound fifth-year senior from Cumming, Ga., is one of two QBs vying for the starting job at Furman, Clemson’s opponent on Saturday. He spent his first three years earning a pre-engineering bachelor’s at the small liberal arts school about 32 miles from Clemson. Because Furman doesn’t offer an engineering major, students who wish to study the subject there spend their final two years at either Clemson, Georgia Tech or NC State. Every weekday, Roberts drives 40 minutes to Clemson for class. Then he makes the drive in reverse to get to practice at Furman. (He listens to podcasts to pass the time; Pardon My Take is a favorite.) So when the Paladins take the field at Death Valley on Saturday, Roberts will know the way. “We played Michigan State a couple of years ago, and we played NC State last year,” Roberts says. “I’m not familiar with those schools and those stadiums at all when we pull up on their campus. But I’ve parked behind Memorial Stadium for the past year. I walk past it every day.”
Roberts, who completed 9 of 13 passes for 110 yards while backing up starter P.J. Blazejowski last season, is playing the Bryant elder statesman role at Furman while competing with redshirt freshman JeMar Lincoln for the job. Furman coach Clay Hendrix has said both should play against the Tigers. So when Roberts takes the field—whether it’s on Furman’s first drive or later—he’ll likely be the first player in college football history to play against the school where he currently takes classes. “There have been guys on the team doing [the dual-enrollment engineering program] before,” Roberts says. “I’m just the next guy that’s doing it. But no one had ever done it when we played Clemson.”
Since you’ve probably been asking this since the third paragraph, yes, the NCAA allows this. It’s actually written into the bylaws:
220.127.116.11 Cooperative Educational Exchange Program. A student-athlete may represent the certifying institution in intercollegiate athletics even though at the time of competition the student is enrolled in another institution in a cooperative educational exchange program, provided:
(a) The certifying institution considers the student to be regularly enrolled in a minimum full-time program of studies; and
(b) All work is placed on the student’s transcript and accepted toward his or her undergraduate degree at the certifying institution.”
First off, congrats to the NCAA for not fucking this situation up. I figured that they’d have a rule saying that if you’re enrolled at a university then you can’t play for them. It’s not Roberts’ fault that Furman doesn’t have an engineering school. Why punish the guy for that?
Secondly, this is a situation for Roberts where he’s ultimately going to lose no matter what. You win the game and then everyone at Furman loves you. Too bad that you aren’t even a student there so you can’t bask in all of the fame that you would receive for beating Clemson. Instead, you’d spend the rest of your college life walking around campus getting bitch stared by everyone while they ultimately consider ending your life since you ended their playoff hopes. You go out and lose this week (like you’re supposed to), and then everyone at Clemson roasts you on your walk to class. “Hey good game dipshit. Not!” is probably a generic one you’ll hear quite often.
The world sucks and life’s unfair. These are two scenarios that you’re just going to have to deal with, buddy. Good luck.