MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — The NCAA says it will allow Middle Tennessee freshman and former marine Steven Rhodes to play in the 2013 season

"As a part of its continued review of Steven Rhodes' eligibility, NCAA staff determined he may play immediately," Lennon's statement read. "Additionally, he will maintain all four years of his eligibility.

"Throughout this process, NCAA staff worked closely with Middle Tennessee State University, and we appreciate the school's partnership. As a part of the ongoing review of NCAA rules, our members will examine the organized competition rules, especially as it impacts those returning from military service. We thank Steven for his service to our country and wish him the best as he begins college."

Steven Rhodes played in a recreational league during his military service that could have made him ineligible. An NCAA rule says student-athletes who don't enroll in college within a year of graduating high school will be charged one year of eligibility for every academic year they participate in organized competition.

Middle Tennessee, a new member of Conference USA, will open the 2013 season on Thursday, Aug. 29 against Western Carolina.