The NCAA approved medical hardship waivers for three members of South Carolina’s defense, including two starters, according to an athletics department spokesman.
Linebacker Rodney Paulk, defensive tackle Travian Robertson and reserve defensive end Chaz Sutton all had a season of eligibility restored after sustaining injuries in 2009, media relations director Steve Fink said Wednesday.
USC felt good about its chances for medical redshirts because all three were injured in the first half of the season and played in four games or fewer – the NCAA’s cutoff in hardship cases.
Paulk and Robertson both underwent ACL reconstructive surgeries in the fall.
Paulk, who has missed most of the past two seasons due to injuries, plans to apply to the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility after the 2010 season. Gamecocks defensive line coach Brad Lawing said Robertson is progressing well and is expected to start alongside Ladi Ajiboye this fall.
Fink said the NCAA also approved USC’s hardship request for defensive back Addison Williams, who will be kept on scholarship but will not count against the 85-scholarship limit. Williams served as a student-coach during the spring.