Taylor: Can Grier find same NCAA luck that cleared Bosch?

West Virginia transfer Will Grier was 5-0 as a starter at Florida last season.



MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — They are separate NCAA cases involving distinct circumstances, linked only by the fact that both players, Kyle Bosch and Will Grier, rerouted their college careers to the same destination, West Virginia.

Yet Bosch’s positive outcome begets optimism for Grier’s situation.

Bosch couldn’t fathom his good fortune last season—granted immediate eligibility at WVU and regaining the sophomore year he thought had been squandered at Michigan. The offensive lineman isn’t ready to reveal the “extenuating circumstances” that led to his leave of absence from the Wolverines in 2014, and didn’t figure they would coax much empathy anyway. He gave himself “less than a 1 percent chance” of being cleared to play at West Virginia in 2015.

The NCAA and former schools don’t always accommodate college players in relocating, but Bosch said of his scenario, “The NCAA really helped me. I’m very blessed with the decision. I got a very, very fortunate opportunity.”

Might Grier—after leaving Florida in the midst of a year-long suspension for PEDs—catch a break too? While understanding that he must sit out 2016, the quarterback’s camp hopes the drug ban will expire during his transfer year, clearing him to play for all of 2017.

Had Grier remained with the Gators, his penalty would have expired this fall and made him eligible to return Oct. 15. Gray margins exist, however, as to whether the suspension clock continues running during a transfer year where a player isn’t eligible to compete anyway.

Chad Grier, Will’s father, told me his “expectation is that Will definitely will have all of ’17.”


Bosch admits he still doesn’t comprehend the NCAA loopholes that allowed him to start 13 games for the Mountaineers last season. In a self-described “holding pattern” throughout spring practice, he learned in late May—five months after enrolling—that his waiver had been granted.

“It’s really up for interpretation. Can you build a case?,” Bosch said. “Even after going through the process, I don’t understand enough of the NCAA legislation. But I don’t ever plan on being the commissioner of the NCAA.”

Bosch praised his parents, Greg and Tracey, for handling much of the legwork back in St, Charles, Ill., consulting with attorney friends and “fighting tooth and nail” to construct a case. He also credited West Virginia’s compliance staff for their contributions through “a long and grueling process where nothing is simple.”

Now the work begins on Grier’s behalf.


Chad Grier, who coached his son at Davidson (N.C.) Day School, doesn’t excuse the over-the-counter banned-substance violation that sidelined Will just after the Gators cracked the AP top 10.

“It was awful, man,” he said. “They come home after winning at Missouri, they’re No. 8 in the country, and Will’s on top of the world. A few hours later he’s calling me from the coach’s office and saying ‘Dad, we need to talk.’”

“He couldn’t believe it. It was a random NCAA test and he got picked and he had nothing to be worried about. Had no concerns at all.”

The substance in question came from a product purchased at Total Nutrition, a store from which Chad Grier said multiple players purchased protein powders and supplements.

“I guess the substance he got, the NCAA added it Aug 15 to their banned list. Will was supposed to check with a trainer, and he knew that, but he didn’t do it. The culture was, ‘Yeah, we know we’re supposed to ask,’ but nobody asked.”

“Still, it’s nobody’s fault but Will’s. It’s certainly not Florida’s fault.”

Grier was a backup quarterback at East Carolina in 1990 when the NCAA began year-round drug testing and suggests his son’s case spotlights a need to modernize the policy. No longer does he suspect players of “shooting each other up with steroids” like they did in the ‘80s, and he wonders why the NCAA cracks down harder on legal substances classified as PEDs than instances of recreational drug use.

“Will’s own teammate fails marijuana tests and misses one week. The kid from Ohio State gets a DUI and misses one week. Will takes an over-the-counter supplement and he misses a year.

“The policy and the rule don’t reflect the reality of nutritional supplements and everything that’s out on the market right now.”


As Will Grier’s suspension stunned the SEC last October, placing dubious light on the redshirt freshman’s fantastic half-season, the media’s race to contextualize his violation fueled some off-base assumptions.

“There’s so much trash out there,” his dad said. “People saying he gained 43 pounds since he got to college. It’s so ridiculous.”

The misinformation might stem from a recruiting profile. The quarterback’s class of 2014 profile on Rivals.com listed him at 177 pounds, a figured his dad said had not been updated since Will weighed at a camp as a high school sophomore.

“I think some jackass looked at that and said ‘Oh he was 176 when he got to Florida and now he’s 214, so he clearly had to take a bunch steroids.’”

In actuality, Grier was close to 200 pounds when he enrolled for Florida’s spring semester in 2014, and during summer breaks when he returned home to North Carolina, his dad saw him consuming six meals a day, chugging protein shakes and lifting to add muscle.

“He weighed 214 on our scale at home and I thought that’s great, that’s a good weight,” dad said. “It wasn’t about steroids. It was a case of a kid getting serious and working his butt off to get ready for the SEC.”

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