Oakland men’s basketball player and Baltimore native Isaiah Brock, an Army veteran who had been deemed ineligible this season because of poor high school grades, was cleared to play by the NCAA on Monday.
Oakland appealed the NCAA’s ruling Thursday, which was based on Brock’s academic profile when he graduated from Forest Park in 2011, and added a letter of support from U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop of Michigan, according to The Detroit News.
Brock, 22, a 6-foot-8 forward who was closer to 6 foot in high school, spent four years in the Army after leaving Baltimore. He served as a mortuary affairs specialist for his six-month deployments in Afghanistan and Kuwait, retrieving the bodies of dead soldiers from the battlefield and preparing them for burial.
Brock met Golden Grizzlies coach Greg Kampe during the Troops First Foundation’s Hardwood Classic in Kuwait, and Kampe, taken with his life story and intrigued by this athleticism, offered an athletic scholarship.
Brock earned an A and a B in University of Maryland University College online classes while serving in Afghanistan, and after enrolling at Oakland this summer, he got two Bs. The NCAA had allowed Brock to practice with the team, but because of his years-old grades, he was told he would have to sit out this season.
According to The Detroit News, he wrote the NCAA three letters pleading his case over the summer. On Monday, he got the news he was hoping for.
“I just want to thank the NCAA for giving me the opportunity to play this year and I also want to thank all of my teammates, family and friends for all of their support through this process,” Brock said in a release. “I’m very grateful and I won’t let this opportunity go to waste!”