Click on this link to access the photo of Naijiel Hale’s certificate welcoming him to the Arizona program
Class of 2014 football recruit Naijiel Hale of Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco High showed on his Instagram page tonight a nifty certificate issued to him by Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez and athletic director Greg Byrne.
Hale, a 5-10, 175-pound cornerback, is one of 22 players who have verbally committed to Rodriguez and his staff. Verbal commitments are non-binding. The players will officially become Wildcats on Feb. 5, the national signing date.
The certificate issued to Hale reads: “The University of Arizona does hereby confirm offering Naijiel Hale a full athletic scholarship to contribute at the School of Hard Edge given from Tucson, Arizona, on National Signing Day …”
The certificate includes the national signing date and then a disclaimer: “Pending upon satisfactory completion of high school, meeting NCAA and institutional admission standards and not compromising NCAA Rule 15.5.5.”
The signatures of Rodriguez and athletic director Greg Byrne are at the bottom of the certificate with Arizona’s block “A” in the middle.
For those who do not know “Hard Edge” is a motto Rodriguez has used since early in his coaching career. NCAA Rule 15.5.5. limits programs to 85 scholarships total and 25 signees a year.
Former offensive lineman signee David Maka, who enrolled briefly in summer school before leaving the program, compromised that rule. His departure means Arizona has 24 Class of 2013 signees in fall camp and not 25, but since he enrolled, that prevents his scholarship to be provided to another athlete, per NCAA rules.
Arizona is appealing this specific case with the NCAA.
WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes blogs for Lindy’s College Sports, TucsonCitizen.com and Sports Illustrated-sponsored site ZonaZealots.com.