Soto Discusses Ineligibility Ruling That Could Affect Big Eight Title

Omar Soto, the Nebraska fullback who was ruled ineligible for Wednesday night's Orange Bowl because he violated NCAA rules in 1986, finally spoke about his unexpected ordeal.

Soto, who is from Miami and had arranged for 60 tickets for family and friends, was deleted from the Cornhusker roster when it was discovered that he had participated in a Mt. San Jacinto College preseason scrimmage in 1986 before leaving the school. Combined with two years at Arizona Western Junior College and three years at Nebraska, Soto exceeded the number of seasons allowed by the NCAA.

"I had stated this to my coaches at Arizona Western and I asked them and they said, . . . by the rules at that division, that I wouldn't have any problems," Soto told NBC Sports.

Asked if he had deceived Nebraska officials by never telling them about the scrimmages, Soto said: "As far as my knowledge, I was told there would be no problem, so I never brought it up because I thought I was in the clear."

An internal investigation is expected to be concluded by Jan. 31. Its findings will be forwarded to the NCAA and the Big Eight Conference office. Depending on the information gathered, the school could possibly have to forfeit its league co-championship and its net portion of the $4.2-million Orange Bowl payout.

Early indications are that the NCAA probably won't become involved in the controversy. Big Eight faculty representatives and athletic directors will meet in March to determine Nebraska's fate.

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