Richmond transfer QB must sit out 2013 season

University of Richmond senior transfer quarterback Michael Rocco has been denied eligibility in the 2013 season by the NCAA, the Colonial Athletic Association program announced Thursday.

NCAA bylaws stipulate that a transfer from the Football Bowl Subdivision to the Football Championship Subdivision can play immediately only if he has two seasons of eligibility remaining. Rocco, who transferred in from the University of Virginia in January, has only one season of eligibility left, and must continue to spend the year at Richmond as a transfer in residence.

Richmond had sought a waiver to permit Rocco to be eligible to compete this season because he is on track to graduate in spring 2014.

Rocco, the nephew of Richmond head coach Danny Rocco, can practice with the team this year and will be eligible to play the 2014 season.

"While we are disappointed with the NCAA's decision, we are ready to move on," Danny Rocco said. "Michael will continue to practice and be an important contributor as we prepare for the 2013 season, while earning his degree from Richmond. We look forward to having him eligible to compete during the 2014 season."

Michael Rocco, from Lynchburg, Va., did not redshirt at Virginia, where he started 21 games the last three seasons, including eight last season. He threw for 4,731 yards and 27 touchdowns and had 24 interceptions with the Cavaliers.

Returning redshirt junior Michael Strauss, who transferred from Virginia to Richmond last year, is expected to be the starting quarterback for the Spiders, who finished 8-3 last season and ranked 18th in The Sports Network FCS Top 25.