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December 20, 2006
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ATLANTA -Georgia Tech quarterback Reggie Ball has been ruled academically ineligible for the Gator Bowl.
Cornerback Kenny Scott also is academically ineligible, the school said Wednesday.
"You're disappointed for the young men, and you're disappointed for the team," coach Chan Gailey said. "Although this is a very, very bad ending to the careers of these two young men, we can't forget the contributions they have made to the Georgia Tech program the last four years."
Ball passed for 1,820 yards this season while starting every game. He threw for 20 touchdowns and was intercepted 14 times, but was criticized for inconsistency, especially after Tech's offense sputtered in a regular season-ending loss to Georgia and a loss to Wake Forest in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.
The four-year starter from Stone Mountain, Ga., compiled 8,579 yards of total offense, including 8,128 passing yards with 57 touchdowns during his career.
Scott, from Daytona Beach, Fla., was a three-year starter. This season he had 50 tackles, two interceptions and 10 pass breakups.
Gailey said backup quarterback Taylor Bennett would start for Tech against West Virginia in the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1 in Jacksonville, Fla., and Jahi Word-Daniels would take Scott's place at cornerback.
Bennett completed 16 of 29 passes during the season, with two touchdowns and one interception. Gailey said Bennett has not had much preparation so far and "would be busy" in practice this week and next.
Tech officials said they could not be more specific on the nature of the academic ineligibility, but Gailey said Ball and Bennett were eligible at the beginning of the semester. Student athletes have to meet NCAA and school standards for completion of a required number of courses and grade point average in order to remain eligible.
Georgia Tech students have just completed exams. Gailey said he learned earlier in the day that Ball would be ineligible. He said he talked to Scott earlier this week.
The coach said he hoped both would be able to graduate.
The academic progress of players is monitored "on a regular basis" by the athlectics staff, but "when you get to be a senior, you get to rely more on their evaluation," Gailey said.For more coverage of Georgia Tech, check out JacketsOnline.com.