McKenzie Murphy Given Waiver by NCAA to Play for Eagles

Having played just one season at EWU and one in the now-defunct Western Washington program, safety from Spokane completes paperwork to play remainder of the season for injury-depleted Eagle secondary

McKenzie Murphy, a safety on last year’s Eastern Washington University football squad and a former player in the now-defunct Western Washington football program, applied for and was granted a waiver by the NCAA to play the remainder of the season for the Eagles.

He was granted the waiver for personal circumstances that were not within his control, and was given the ruling on Nov 8. He will practice this week and is expected to travel to Saturday's (Nov. 11) game at Cal Poly where he may play for the injury-ravaged Eagle secondary and on special teams.

In his sixth academic year since graduating in 2008 from Ferris High School in Spokane, Wash., Murphy played the 2008 season at Western, which dropped its program the following January. He stayed at Western and eventually received his degree in accounting, and is now pursuing his master’s degree at EWU in computer science.

Murphy said he originally started the appeal process in the summer to get the waiver, but an academic internship conflicted with early-season practices. He said the NCAA responded quickly upon presenting his final documentation last week, and within 24 hours was eligible again.

“I wanted to progress my career outside of football, and I had time constraints with the internship that wouldn’t allow me to play,” Murphy said. “But when the injuries starting occurring, the coaches and I started joking about my eligibility and I completed the appeal.”

Murphy, who turned 24 on Oct. 20, transferred to EWU in January 2012 and played for EWU that fall. Despite missing two games with a broken thumb that required surgery and one with a concussion, he played in 11 games as a backup safety and had 13 tackles and a pair of interceptions. One of his picks was against Southern Utah when he was playing with a heavily-padded cast.

“We are excited to have McKenzie back, but we’re even more excited for that great young man,” said Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin. “He’s not only a good player, but he’s also a great teammate. He will not only help us on defense, but he’ll be a great special teams player too.”

While at Ferris, Murphy was an Associated Press first team All-State selection and was the Greater Spokane League Defensive MVP. He had 120 tackles and three interceptions as a senior.

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