ESPN’s Chris Low reported Friday that Kentucky star running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. will miss the Wildcats’ SEC East showdown at No. 12 Florida Saturday. Rodriguez has been part of an ongoing, multiplayer eligibility inquiry at UK, sources told Sports Illustrated.
Rodriguez and linebacker Jordan Wright—both named team captains in the preseason—missed Kentucky’s season-opening victory over Miami (Ohio) last week. Wright was cleared to play earlier this week, but there has been no decision reached on when Rodriguez will return to the lineup. Sources told SI that the eligibility issue is being examined by both the university and the NCAA.
In most cases that involve potential rules violations that impact player eligibility, an initial ruling will pertain to when (or if) a player can return to competition. But after eligibility is determined, there often is a second phase of an investigation that determines whether rules violations can result in allegations against the school.
Kentucky has not stated a reason why the players have been withheld from competition. Before the season opener, coach Mark Stoops refused to offer an explanation, saying only, “I just have to say that these players have some rights as well, and I have to be very conscientious of that. I expect a few of them will have multiple-game suspensions, but I don’t know.”
This isn’t the only off-field issue for Rodriguez, who rushed for 1,379 yards in 2021, second-most in the SEC. He also was arrested in May on a DUI charge and pled guilty to the offense in July.
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