Arizona Wildcats football: Neal 'still in a good place' after having appeal denied by NCAA

2013-09-11T19:39:00Z Arizona Wildcats football: Neal 'still in a good place' after having appeal denied by NCAADaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
September 11, 2013 7:39 pm  • 

For the first time since the NCAA told him he couldn’t play until 2014, Arizona Wildcats wide receiver/punt returner DaVonte Neal spoke with reporters about the decision.

Neal talked after this afternoon’s practice and seemed pretty understanding of the decision. As coach Rich Rodriguez said on Monday, the UA will still appeal once more, but nobody seems to think Neal has much of a chance to play this season.

Some of Neal’s post-practice quotes:

On his opinion of the decision: “The decision is what it is. I want to thank my coaching staff, the compliance at the University of Arizona for everything they’ve done for me. They did what they could and tried their hardest, but the decision is what it is.”

On what he does now: “I’m just going to come out to practice and give 100 percent and make sure the defense knows what they’re doing and give them a great look for the week.”

On what his argument was that he should be able to play right away: “I’m here for my daughter. She was born in February. I felt like that was a good argument for me to come back, a good reason for me to come back. I still feel like that it’s a good reason. My family is still in a good place, I’m still in a good place despite the decision that we got. I’m happy and they’re happy.”

On having to wait so long for a decision: “I tried not to think about the wait just for the simple fact that I’m still coming out and playing football everyday and still coming out and doing what I love everyday. If I don’t get to play on Saturdays, I still get to play Monday through Friday and play football.”

On if he thought there was a good chance he would be cleared: “I thought it was a pretty good chance of me getting cleared with the situation that I was in. But, the NCAA has a different opinion of it, which I respect their decision and I’m going to move forward.”

On what the reaction of his family was: “Same as mine. Disappointment. They wanted me to play this year, but we’re not too disappointed because I get to go to school and get my education and that’s what is most important right now.”

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About this blog

Daniel Berk began covering UA football in 2013 after spending two-plus years as the Star's high school sports coordinator. Previously, he served as the sports editor and NAU beat writer for the Arizona Daily Sun in Flagstaff for three years.

A University of Kansas graduate and St. Louis native, Berk is still getting used to 350 days of sunshine, the relentless "dry heat" of the summer and the fact that Tucson doesn't have a real hockey rink.

Contact Daniel at dberk@azstarnet.com or by calling 573-4330. Follow him on Twitter @DSBerk.

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