Military vet denied by NCAA to play basketball for Oakland University

Image 1 of 9

Meet Isaiah Brock - a man good enough to serve our country but not to suit up for the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies.

The NCAA deemed the 6-foot, 8-inch Army veteran is ineligible to play college basketball.

"I wrote plenty of letters to the NCAA explaining my story basically trying to show them that I'm worthy of this opportunity," he said. "And just to find out that they denied me was really devastating."

He was denied in large part because of his high school grades. The Baltimore native says he was a "C" student but he wasn't focusing too much on academics,  just getting out of an unstable environment.

"When you have like gang members in your school and fights all the time it's not an environment you want to learn in," Brock said.

That was five years ago and Brock says he's a different man now.

He's taken four college courses since then, including two at Oakland University over the summer. His grades were all Bs and one A.

"So I'm definitely capable of taking college courses," he said.

And then there's his service. Brock completed tours in Kandahar, Afghanistan and Kuwait.

"You're definitely always looking over your shoulder," he said.

Brock had the sobering job of retrieving the bodies of fallen soldiers from the battlefield.

"You don't take life for granted after that because you know that could've easily been you, it could've easily been me on my first deployment," he said.

And that job became a conversation piece with OU Coach Greg Kampe when the two met at the "Hoops for Troops" tournament in Kuwait.

"I was just amazed by his story, the maturity of the young man," Kampe said. "And I started thinking to myself, I got kids. They get upset when I make them run a line drill and things like that. And what this man has gone through in 130-degree weather and I thought what a great thing it would be from a leadership standpoint to have this kid around my players."

Kampe offered Brock a scholarship on the spot. But for now his plans to take the floor with the Golden Grizzlies are on hold for a year, which for Brock is a big deal.

"The bottom line is he's 22 he doesn't want to play a fifth year, he doesn't want to be here when he's 27," Kampe said. "He wants to get his degree, get his job and get on with life."

"I'm definitely worthy of this opportunity to play at Oakland University and I'm capable of representing this university in a positive manner," Brock said.

Oakland University is appealing the NCAA decision.