ATLANTA * Georgia Tech quarterback Reggie Ball and cornerback Kenny Scott are academically ineligible for the Yellow Jackets' Toyota Gator Bowl game against 12th-ranked West Virginia.
Tech (9-4, 7-1 ACC), ranked 25th, faces the Mountaineers (10-2, 5-2 Big East) Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. in Jacksonville, Fla.
Ball, a senior from Stone Mountain, Ga., was a four-year starter who has amassed 9,579 yards of total offense in his career, including 8,128 passing yards with 57 touchdowns. This season, he passed for 1,820 yards with 20 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Ball will be replaced in the starting lineup by sophomore Taylor Bennett, who played in six games this season, completing 16 of 29 passes for 197 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Scott, a senior from Daytona Beach, Fla., was a three-year starter in the secondary. This season, he had 50 tackles, two interceptions and 10 pass breakups. Sophomore Jahi Word-Daniels will start at cornerback in his place.
"You're disappointed for the young men, and you're disappointed for the team," said Tech head coach Chan Gailey. "
"Although this 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. Hopefully, they will learn from this unfortunate experience."
"I am saddened by this situation," said Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich. "It is a privilege to have an opportunity to earn a degree at Georgia Tech. Our coaches and staff are constantly reinforcing the message that there is nothing more important that taking care of business in the classroom. This means not only progressing through a playing career, but also continuing to work toward a degree.
"Our academic support system was fully engaged, and these student-athletes were afforded all of the necessary assistance to succeed academically. Our staff works closely with the Institute in the certification process. These two cases were reviewed extensively prior to the final decision by the Institute not to certify them.
"At the same time, I am proud of our student-athletes, including a team of dedicated football players who are doing the things expected of them. I am confident that they will come together to help us succeed in the Gator Bowl and into 2007."