It appears that Davonte’ Neal is about out of options.
The Arizona Wildcats receiver, a first-year transfer from Notre Dame, has been aiming to get a hardship waiver from the NCAA, which requires transfers within the Football Bowl Subdivision to sit out a year.
Coach Rich Rodriguez said Monday that two appeals have been denied.
“That’s a little disappointing. It’s more than a little disappointing,” Rodriguez said at his weekly press conference.
“I can go into great detail, but I don’t want to waste y’all’s time on what my opinions are with some of the NCAA rulings.”
Rodriguez said there is another appeal that UA will try to make, “but it doesn’t look good.”
Neal played last season as a true freshman at Notre Dame, mostly as a punt returner, after graduating from Scottsdale Chaparral High, where he was twice the Gatorade state Player of the Year. He based his hardship appeal on returning to Arizona to be with his longtime girlfriend and their now 7-month-old daughter. They all live in Tucson now.
Rodriguez ultimately couldn’t resist a final jab at the NCAA.
“The only thing I will say about some of the things with the NCAA is they’re consistent with being inconsistent,” he said.
Rodriguez will keep his options open in terms of “activating” Neal in the now-unlikely event Arizona gets good news. Even if Neal misses a few more games, “he’s a good enough athlete that he can help you,” the coach said.
As he and athletic director Greg Byrne have done through the appeals process, Rodriguez reiterated Monday that Neal’s attitude has been great.
“At practice, he’s taken every rep like it’s a Super Bowl rep,” Rodriguez said. “He’s been on the scout team, done a great job. He’s doing a great job on scout special teams. He’s had a super attitude.
“He’s done everything we’ve asked of him.”
If Neal sits out this season, he would have three years of eligibility remaining, starting in 2014, when Texas transfer receiver Cayleb Jones also becomes eligible.
“Our scout team wideouts are pretty good,” Rodriguez said.