By Chadd Cripe
© 2011 Idaho Statesman
Boise State sophomore defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe has been reinstated by the NCAA and is eligible to play Saturday against Air Force, the NCAA told the Idaho Statesman on Wednesday. Boise State confirmed that Tjong-A-Tjoe will be available to play.
Tjong-A-Tjoe served a six-game penalty and still must repay the value of his impermissible benefits — $13,600, received from “a host family, which included Boise State boosters, both prior and after enrolling at the university,” the NCAA said. “These benefits included housing, meals, gifts, school supplies, travel, vacation, among other items.”
Benefits can be repaid over time.
The statement from the NCAA says Tjong-A-Tjoe was reinstated “with conditions.” It’s unclear if there are conditions beyond repaying the benefits to charity and missing six games.
Tjong-A-Tjoe is senior Billy Winn's backup and usually plays extensively. He returns at a time when starting tackle Chase Baker has missed two of the first six games and is questionable this week.
"He's definitely a big part of our defense and we're always glad to have a player back," junior tackle Mike Atkinson said of Tjong-A-Tjoe. "He's been working hard still. He didn't give up."
Tjong-A-Tjoe's case was the last of three involving Boise State players from Amsterdam resolved by the NCAA. The NCAA student-athlete reinforcement staff made its decision Tuesday.
All three players played high school football in Boise and stayed with host families.
Senior safety Cedric Febis served a one-game suspension for “recruiting violations and impermissible transportation” and repaid $20.
Sophomore wide receiver Geraldo Boldewijn served a four-game suspension for receiving $700 in impermissible benefits, including use of a 1990 Toyota Camry and driver’s insurance coverage.
Boldewijn’s benefits also came from his host family, according to Boise State. Those family members are not classified as boosters.
The source of Febis’ benefits has not been identified.
The violations in all three cases were secondary and no major case proceeding will result, according to Boise State.
The case began on Aug. 23. The NCAA called Boise State and informed the school of alleged violations involving the Dutch players. Boise State was directed to investigate and did so immediately. The NCAA has not said how it learned of the violations.