Aug. 30, 2005
SEATTLE - Washington football coach Tyrone Willingham announced today that junior Isaiah Stanback will be the Huskies' starting quarterback for the season opener on Sept. 3 against Air Force at Qwest Field in Seattle.
"Isaiah has worked very hard to earn this job," Willingham said. "He's got all of the tools you look for in a quarterback."
Stanback, from Seattle's Garfield High School, started one game last season at quarterback after having started three as a receiver in 2003. He'd been considered a top contender for the starting quarterback job throughout the spring and fall. Last season, he completed 23 of 68 passes for 389 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 66 yards and two scores.
Willingham also announced that sophomore quarterback Johnny Durocher will not be eligible to play until the Huskies face Notre Dame on Sept. 24 in the fourth game of the season because of NCAA transfer rules.
"We had a very spirited competition for our starting quarterback position and I think that level of competition benefited the development of our entire team," Willingham said. "The change in Johnny's current status on the team should not diminish the fact Isaiah has earned this opportunity to be our starter. He certainly demonstrated the traits and leadership we want to have in our quarterback. I am disappointed for Johnny, but at the same time his competition at the position certainly helped him and our team. The ruling on Johnny accelerated the announcement of the starting quarterback. It did not, however, change the decision."
Durocher transferred to Washington after starting his collegiate career at Oregon before transferring to Pierce Community College where he earned his associate's degree in one year. Durocher withdrew from Oregon on Sept. 20, 2004. Under NCAA bylaw 14.5.6, which covers transfers from a four-year college to a two-year college and then to the certifying institution (4-2-4 rule), one "calendar year" must elapse between the official withdrawal from the original four-year school before the individual will be allowed to engage in intercollegiate athletic competition.
"There was a general misunderstanding that Johnny needed to sit out an academic year where the rule states calendar year," said Husky athletics director Todd Turner. "Fortunately our compliance office caught the discrepancy this week and we were able to take the proper action to insure his eligibility will not be jeopardized. It is unfortunate that action did not take place earlier, but Johnny is very understanding of the situation. As he told Coach Willingham, 'A rule, is a rule.'
"We have a strong commitment to compliance and, even with a very conscientious and experienced staff, this demonstrates how complex the NCAA regulations are and how attuned you have to be not to miss anything. Even so, we will look closely at our eligibility certification process to make sure this does not happen again."
Durocher's involvement in spring football and fall practices has been in compliance with NCAA transfer rules. He will continue to practice with the team until he regains his eligibility."
"While it is unfortunate we will not have Johnny available for the first three games of the season, it is important that we comply with the rules regarding his transfer," Willingham said. "I take all responsibility for not realizing the rule was specific to a 'calendar year.' I want to commend Johnny for the way he is handling this. He told me he was glad to be able to compete for the starting spot this fall and felt his ability to compete for the quarterback position made all of our quarterbacks, and our team in general, better.'