With eligibility exhausted, Stony Brook's Michael Bamiro headed to NFL as free agent

Stony Brook OL Michael Bamiro during practice at Stony Brook OL Michael Bamiro during practice at LaValle Stadium. (Aug. 8, 2012) Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

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The going just got a lot tougher for Stony Brook's running backs as they prepare to move to Colonial Athletic Association football. Preseason All-American right tackle Michael Bamiro's request for an extension of his eligibility recently was denied by the NCAA, according to school officials, and the 6-8, 335-pound prospect is headed to the NFL as a free agent.

Bamiro, who has retained agent Billy Conaty and is preparing for a private workout Thursday for NFL scouts, said the eligibility issue came as a "huge surprise" to him when he first learned about it in late May. He had received his bachelor's degree in journalism and was expecting to return to Stony Brook as a graduate student for his senior season.

The sudden turn of events has been life-changing. "It's intense, almost surreal," Bamiro said in a telephone interview. "One minute I was living in my dorm and now I'm training to be a professional athlete."

The eligibility issue traces to Bamiro's 2008 enrollment at the University of Pittsburgh-Titusville, a campus that primarily offers two-year programs leading to associate degrees. It has men's and women's basketball teams that compete on the junior college level but no other sports programs. Bamiro was not recruited to play sports but was enrolled as a full-time student.

When Bamiro decided he wanted to play football, he transferred in 2009 to Stony Brook, where one brother, David, played football and another brother, Solomon, played basketball. Like many recruits, Bamiro redshirted his first year and then played three seasons from 2010-12, helping to pave the way for a pair of 1,000-yard rushers each of those seasons, winning at least a share of three straight Big South titles and advancing to the second round of the FCS playoffs the past two seasons.