Southern, recruits wait on NCAA

Rebecca Watts

There might be two recruits coming to run for Missouri Southern from Finland.

“Hopefully we can get all the paper work done and we can find a way if they can be eligible immediately,” said men’s cross country head coach Tom Rutledge. “They’ve been out of the army since Oct. 1, and they’ve been wanting to come to Missouri Southern for a whole year now.”

Regardless of Rutledge’s connections in foreign countries, he said he cannot control the mandatory NCAA procedures. In Finland, every male high school graduate must serve one year in the army, and by the NCAA standards, the two possible recruits are considered to have run professionally.

“The NCAA makes it very difficult because of translations of transcripts, and a lot of times new athletes, especially foreign students, have to sit out a year,” Rutledge said.

If the recruits are able to run for Southern, Rutledge is optimistic about their contribution to the team.

“The Finland athletes really mesh well with other athletes; they do a great job,” he said. “(The recruits) have done everything they’re supposed to; we’re just waiting on the NCAA to make their decision now.”

Current cross country runners are excited for the recruits’ arrival.

“We can’t wait to meet them,” said Dustin Miller, senior middle school math and science major.

Rustan Crockett, junior physical education major, shares the same enthusiasm.

“I think it’s a good thing,” he said. “They’re coming in with awesome times which will pick up the slack so we don’t have to spread ourselves so thin. And hopefully they’ll be here at a good time.”

Kyle Davis, junior health wellness promotions major and team captain, said the new recruits would be welcomed, but they’re not here yet.

“I’m excited,” he said. “But you never really know what someone can do until they actually get here.”