Price finally gets clearance by NCAA to rejoin team

Times Staff Writer

After a stressful six weeks in NCAA limbo, underscored by medical concerns, UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price finally had a day where he could relax.

Now he has to go to work.

Price was finally cleared to rejoin the Bruins on Monday. He will be at practice today and could be in uniform when the Bruins play Washington on Saturday.

“It was real frustrating, but I’m putting that all behind me now,” said Price, the Crenshaw High graduate who is considered the Bruins’ top recruit.


Price practiced the first day of camp in August, but was pulled from the field the second day when the NCAA said it needed to review his paperwork.

The glitch came from his Crenshaw transcripts and classes he took at a technical school to improve his grades from his sophomore year.

The review took six weeks, during which Price had to be treated for a heart valve problem.

“Before camp, I had my blood pressure taken and it was pretty high,” Price said. “They did tests and found out my heart valve was too thick. It was hard for blood to get through.”

It was treatable with medication that Price said he finished taking Sunday. Still, Price said, “I was going through a lot of stress.”

Through the whole ordeal, Price said he was studying the Bruins’ playbook and working out at Crenshaw. He still must complete four days of conditioning before being allowed to suit up.

Price could help offset the loss of defensive tackle Brigham Harwell, who is out at least another three weeks with a partially torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee.

Guard Shannon Tevaga will miss at least two weeks with a “mild sprain” of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee, according to UCLA officials. Tevaga, considered the Bruins’ best offensive lineman, was injured against Utah on Saturday.

Linebacker Aaron Whittington will miss this week’s game after suffering a concussion against Utah, his second concussion in as many weeks, Coach Karl Dorrell said.

Dorrell said quarterback Patrick Cowan, who missed a month with a torn hamstring, will return to full practice today. . . . The last time a ranked UCLA team lost to an unranked team that does not belong to a BCS conference was 1949, when the 13th-ranked Bruins were beaten by Santa Clara. . . . UCLA’s game against Oregon State on Sept. 29 will start at 3:30 p.m. and be shown on FSN Prime Ticket.