PROVO -- Make room for Jared Ward in Friday's NCAA Mountain Region Cross Country Championships.
The BYU athletic administration received official word from the NCAA Thursday that Ward's appeal to have his fourth season of cross country eligibility reinstated was approved.
"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."
Ward, a former Davis High standout, returned from an LDS mission in September 2009 too late to enroll at BYU. Before entering school in winter semester 2010 he participated in a recreational race for coaches and family members prior to a high school meet in southern California.
Later the NCAA determined that due to his participation in that race Ward had utilized a season of collegiate competition.
That season of competition was reinstated Thursday by the NCAA subcommittee for legislative review, allowing Ward the opportunity to compete for BYU 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."
The No. 5 ranked BYU men's cross country team will compete in the NCAA Mountain Region Championships Friday at Schneiter's Riverside Golf Course in Riverdale, with hopes to qualify for the NCAA National Championships on Nov. 23.
The NCAA reversal comes on the heels of two other documented decisions. One involved a former LDS missionary who participated in a church basketball league and was told he would lose a year of eiligibility at Colgate. The other involved a former Marine who had lost two years of eligibility for playing in a rec league on a military base before enrolling at Middle Tennessee.
Ward has been training for marathons, and is ready to run, BYU coaches said.