When Penn State allowed Anwar Phillips to play in the Capital One Bowl in January, it may have violated a Big Ten rule that states a player who has been suspended from school "shall become immediately ineligible."
Phillips, the defensive back charged with sexual assault for a Nov. 12 incident, was expelled for two semesters by the university on Dec. 12 starting with the spring 2003 semester and was, according to university policy, eligible to partake in extracurricular activities.
However, on page 101 of the 2002-2003 Big Ten handbook, it states "a student-athlete who is suspended for academic or non-academic reasons shall become immediately ineligible and shall not be eligible to compete until the first day of classes of the term in which the student-athlete is reinstated to the institution."
Phillips is not eligible to be reinstated until the upcoming fall semester.
Jeff Nelson, Penn State sports information director, said the school does not believe it broke any rules by allowing Phillips to play.
He did not say why the university feels that way.
"We contacted the conference sometime during the course of the last two to three weeks to inform them of what is going on," he said.
"We're still gathering information to send to them and then they will review it. There has been open contact all along."
Though there is no timetable for when that information must be sent, Nelson said he does not expect Penn State's inquiry to last much longer.
Calls to the Big Ten office in Chicago went unanswered.
Phillips is currently free on $10,000 unsecured bail and waived his right to a preliminary hearing on March 26.
His trial is scheduled to begin following jury selection on June 9.
A pre-trial conference is set for May 22.