College Sports

Former area standout could be ruled ineligible for USC's bowl game

Spencer Lanning
Spencer Lanning

COLUMBIA -- South Carolina has two players academically ineligible for the Outback Bowl, but that total would double if two additional players lose their NCAA appeals.

Starting punter and former York Comprehensive standout Spencer Lanning and fifth-year linebacker Dustin Lindsey failed to pass the mandatory credit hours to be eligible for a bowl. Both are appealing, Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said Friday.

Strong safety Emanuel Cook, the Gamecocks' leading tackler the past two seasons, and reserve offensive lineman Kyle Nunn have been ruled out.

Lanning, a redshirt sophomore, made two Bs, a C and a D this semester, according to Spurrier. The D came in a course in Lanning's major of economics, a department that considers Ds as failing.

That left Lanning with three credit hours in his major this semester. The NCAA requires upperclassmen to pass six hours in their major to be eligible for a bowl.

"Hopefully, he can get some relief," Spurrier said. "He's got about a 2.9 overall GPA. But the rules are the rules, and I don't think he knew it. I didn't know it."

Special teams coach Ray Rychleski said Lanning declared economics as his major because he was just short of the 3.0 GPA required to major in business.

"If he passed three credits total, throw him out. No question. But this is a perfect storm," Rychleski said. "If the NCAA has compassion ... I'm a what's right guy. This is wrong."

If Lanning loses the appeal, kicker Ryan Succop also would punt against Iowa. Succop averaged 42.3 yards as USC's punter in 2006 and 2007.

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