Second update: Pole resolved an academic issue. He's cleared to play and has rejoined the team. The headline and summary have been updated to reflect the latest news.
Update: There is a potential twist to the story. So, at this point, Pole may or may not be academically ineligible.
Leach said that Pole is here and will start. I did not see him at practice. #WSU— Jacob Thorpe (@JacobThorpeSR) December 19, 2013
Washington State will be without starting defensive end Toni Pole in the New Mexico Bowl after he was sent home on Wednesday due to academic issues. Pole's academic ineligibility was first reported by Cougfan.com.
Pole traveled with the team to Albuquerque on Tuesday, only to be sent home once final grades came in. Semester grades were due by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, after the team charter had already departed. NCAA rules dictate that players who are academically ineligible must be sent home from the bowl immediately, according to Jacob Thorpe.
Pole started 10 games for WSU this season and was a major contributor along the defensive line. Without him, WSU could start both BUCK linebackers as Brian Anderson mentioned in his scouting report on Colorado State's rushing attack. Darryl Paulo is listed behind Pole on the depth chart and will presumably play more snaps against CSU.
The big question moving forward is how this will impact Pole's standing with the team. According to NCAA rules, student athletes are required to earn at least six credits each semester while also meeting grade point requirements. Once ruled academically ineligible the student-athlete must go through a reinstatement process. Depending on the situation, Pole may miss some of the offseason activities and potentially spring football. If the situation is especially dire, he could potentially be required to sit out the 2014 season.
Academic issues aren't necessarily rare. WSU has had several players sit out of spring football to allow them to focus on academics in recent years. The only difference with Pole is WSU is playing in a bowl and his situation is more publicized as a result.