Bronco Beat

Boise State’s Finley, Sumner-Gardner won’t return for bowl, can redshirt

Boise State coach Bryan Harsin, Dec. 7, Part I

Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin discusses the Poinsettia Bowl and recruiting.
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Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin discusses the Poinsettia Bowl and recruiting.

Boise State quarterback Ryan Finley and safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner, who have been sidelined since September with broken ankles, won’t play in the Poinsettia Bowl, coach Bryan Harsin said Monday.

That means both will be eligible to receive medical hardship redshirts for this season.

Finley started the first three games and was injured in the first half of the Idaho State game. He has thrown the ball but isn’t 100 percent, Harsin said.

“Ryan is not ready to play,” Harsin said. “He won’t be come bowl time.”

Finley was sidelined with a shoulder injury during his entire true freshman season, when he redshirted. He was the backup quarterback in 2014. Because he has missed two seasons because of injury, he is eligible for a sixth year. That would make him a redshirt sophomore again in 2016 and place him in the senior class of 2018.

That would give the Broncos three quarterbacks in the class of 2018 — Finley, who was originally in the class of 2017, Alex Ogle and current starter Brett Rypien, who was originally slated for the class of 2019.

Sumner-Gardner’s case is a little different than Finley’s. He started the first four games before his injury. He played in four of 12 regular-season games — or 33 percent. That’s above the NCAA limit of 30 percent to be eligible for a medical hardship year.

But the way the NCAA decides eligibility is a little funky: 30 percent of 12 games is 3.6. The NCAA rounds that to four. So football players can compete in four games and still be eligible for the redshirt year.

However, if players are medically cleared to return before the regular season ends — even if they don’t play in games — they are ineligible.

Sumner-Gardner played as a true freshman in 2014, so this will be considered his redshirt year and he’ll be a redshirt sophomore in 2016.

Another quirk in the rule: Because the regular season has ended, Finley and Sumner-Gardner can practice if they’re able without affecting their hardship eligibility. They just can’t play in the bowl game.

At one time, Harsin suggested Sumner-Gardner could return by Halloween.

“That was wishful thinking more than anything,” he said. “He’s not going to be fully healthy. When you’re talking about recovery times and surgeries, we don’t want to have a guy come back and have another break or aggravate it. We’re going to continue with his rehab and get him fully healthy for the spring.”

Harsin does expect safety Darian Thompson (concussion) and wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes (ankle) to play in the Dec. 23 Poinsettia Bowl. They missed the last two regular-season games.

Left tackle Rees Odhiambo (broken ankle) won’t play.

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