March 9, 2004
TUCSON - University of Arizona offensive tackle Brandon Phillips, who played three games as a senior before a season-ending knee injury last season, has been granted another year of eligibility by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, UA learned today.
Bill Morgan, UA's athletics compliance director, said Phillips will be able to play in 2004 as a sixth-year senior, though he will have to miss three games because he secured an agreement for services with a professional agent following the 2003 season.
'Brandon will have to cancel his agreement with the agent and will be required to pay $100 in restitution for services received,' Morgan said. 'Then he will have to sit out 30 percent of our season, which is three games.'
UA's appeal on Phillips' behalf was made through the NCAA's student-athlete reinstatement staff and its amateurism group, Morgan said, and took about a month to accomplish. Phillips was reinstated because he had missed most of two seasons for medical reasons 'beyond his control' - a head and knee injury during his redshirt freshman season as a defensive lineman in 2000 and the knee injury that required September 18 surgery this past year, Morgan said.
'Holy cow,' Phillips said of the opportunity to play at Arizona this year. 'It's a huge weight off my shoulders. It's been difficult going to classes all day and working hard without knowing the outcome (of the appeal). Coach (Mike) Stoops mentioned the possibility to me in early January and has helped me out a lot during the process. He and the entire staff have a genuine interest in doing what's best for the players,' he said.
'It's a great development for Brandon and a great development for our football team. Brandon's leadership will be a key for our team in its first season as a new program,' Stoops said.
Phillips, 23, said he would be limited in spring practice, which starts March 23, due to the rehabilitation process from the September surgery, and that he expects to be full speed by the time camp opens in August. 'I'm excited to play for a staff that has had so much success winning college football games. I'll be working my way back into shape and be ready when camp opens.'
Phillips, of Chandler, Ariz., was set to anchor the UA offensive line in 2003, but was hurt in the third game against Oregon. He's a 6-foot-8, 310-pound three-year letterman who had three starts last year, nine in 2002 and four in 2001, all at right tackle.