Brennan defends college eligibility rule

08 February 2013

Former GAA President Nickey Brennan
Former GAA president Nickey Brennan is backing a controversial college eligibility ruling.

The rule - which restricts players to a maximum of six years and two different courses - snookered DCU's intercounty pair Aidan Walsh (Cork) and Michael Boyle (Donegal) this week, with the Disputes Resolution Authority confirming that they could not play for the Glasnevin-based university.

"I've had a lot of experience of the third-level scene and was on the CAO as a delegate from management before I was president," Brennan tells The Irish Times. "I was asked to chair the Higher Education Review Committee and we produced a report with a lot of proposals. This was one of them.

"There was concern that with extended academic cycles some players were looking around, naturally enough in the current circumstances, for additional courses and that a fairer balance had to be brought to the system because not all colleges are in a position to offer the same range of courses.

"Was the sort of situation which happened this week envisaged when we drew up the rule? Absolutely. And it was felt it was the right thing to do.

"The proposals were specifically intended to come in after twelve months but it was accepted that the rule would apply retrospectively from then on. The DRA has upheld the rule, which reflects the amount of work contributed when it was drawn up.

"If, however, there is unhappiness at how this is operating, it's up to someone within the third-level sector to bring in an amendment to the rule."