PROVO, Utah – One of BYU’s top cross country runners, Jared Ward, received eligibility from the NCAA Nov. 14 and may return for a fourth season with the Cougars.
Ward, who placed 14th overall and first for BYU in last year’s NCAA Championship race, received official word Thursday regarding the approval of his appeal.
“We are grateful to the NCAA staff and the subcommittee for taking the time to hear Jared’s appeal,” said BYU director of athletics Tom Holmoe. “I’m thrilled he will have the opportunity to compete with his teammates this year during the postseason.”
In Sept. 2009 Ward returned from an LDS mission and could not enroll at BYU in time for the fall semester. That winter, he participated in a recreational race prior to a high school meet while waiting for the upcoming semester. The NCAA later concluded that Ward’s decision to race counted as season of collegiate competition.
“It’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions, but really a learning experience and an opportunity to be grateful for so many people who’ve been behind it all the way, primarily family and friends, my wife, BYU compliance and my coaches and teammates,” said Ward.
Thursday’s decision, made by an NCAA subcommittee, reinstated Ward’s senior season and allows him to begin competing with the team immediately.
“I’m obviously very excited. I’m grateful to the NCAA for reviewing my case and giving me the opportunity to run,” said Ward. “I look forward to joining my teammates this weekend at regionals and hopefully competing at the NCAA Championships next week.”
BYU’s men’s cross country team is currently ranked No. 5 in the nation heading into the NCAA Mountain Region Championships on Friday, Nov. 15. A top-two finish this weekend qualifies the squad for the NCAA National Championships on Nov. 23, a race in which it finished 6th a year ago.