Penn State offensive lineman Garry Gilliam was granted a sixth-year waiver by the NCAA:
Gilliam suffered a serious knee injury in the 2010 Big Ten opener at Iowa, the fifth game of the season, and missed the entire 2011 campaign. A tight end during the 2010 and 2012 seasons, Gilliam suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the game at Iowa and an infection then delayed his surgery and rehabilitation.
“I’m very excited to be able to continue to help Penn State and to be a part of such an important period in our history,” stated Gilliam, who will be eligible to play during the 2013 and ’14 seasons.
Gilliam’s two denied participation opportunities were the 2010 season, when he suffered an ACL tear, and the 2011 season, when complications with the same injury caused him to miss the entire season.
How close was this waiver? Gilliam did not play in Penn State’s 2010 game against Kent State. Had he played in that game, he would have appeared in five games in 2010, rather than four. Five games would have exceeded the 30% threshold for a medical hardship waiver. If he did not get that waiver, he would not be able to show two lost seasons, and thus would not have gotten the sixth-year waiver.
Even with the sixth-year waiver, Gilliam will only be able to use three seasons of competition (2012, 2013, 2014). He’s not eligible for a seventh year because his redshirt as a freshman in 2009 does not appear to be related to a hardship outside of his control.