Stanford defensive lineman Terrence Stephens has been declared ineligible for the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin because of a secondary violation of NCAA rules related to his rental of off-campus housing.
The school didn't release any further details about the decision Friday. The senior nose tackle missed victories in the regular-season finale and the Pac-12 championship against UCLA for what Cardinal coach David Shaw had called a "personal problem."
Asked after Friday's practice how the issue surfaced, Shaw said it's "not important." He also said any assumption Stephens was getting a discount on rent is "not necessarily" accurate. When pressed about specifics, he declined to elaborate.
"It's been an ongoing process. There was a lot of information gathering going on. Once all the dust settled, that's what came out," Shaw said following Stanford's final on-campus practice before breaking for the holidays and heading to the Los Angeles area next week. "We tried to make sure we did the best service we could for Terrence, make sure that we found out all the information we could. The Pac-12 and the NCAA as well. And this is the final result."
The 6-foot-2, 305-pound Stephens has been one of Stanford's most vocal leaders. He anchors the defensive line's run package, often clogging the middle to free up teammates to fill the gaps - and not usually his own statistics.
Stephens has 10 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble this season. He also forced the win-clinching fumble by Curtis McNeal in Stanford's 56-48 victory in triple overtime at Southern California last year.
"I love my team and the work we've all put in to get to this point," Stephens wrote on Twitter. "My situation is irrelevant. Go to the Rose Bowl and cheer on a great team."
Stephens is scheduled to earn his psychology degree in the spring. He also will participate in Stanford's pro day workouts and any All-Star games he is invited to, Shaw said.
"This is just a minor bump in the road," Shaw said. "He knew that it was a possibility. He was very disappointed. I was disappointed for him. He's one of those guys, he's a fourth-year guy who came here with the goal to play in this game, and he's done a lot of work to help us get there."
David Parry will make his third straight start in place of Stephens when the eighth-ranked Cardinal (11-2) face the Big Ten champion Badgers (8-5) in Pasadena on Jan. 1. Parry had five tackles, a sack and a pass deflection in the 35-17 win at UCLA in the season finale. He had one tackle in Stanford's 27-24 victory in the title game rematch against the Bruins at Stanford Stadium on Nov. 30.
Parry expressed sympathy for his friend and teammate.
"He's handling it about as good as anybody else could. He's praying a little bit, leaning on his friends around him for support," Parry said.
Stephens has been a big reason why the Cardinal defense leads the nation in tackles for loss (9.23 per game, 120 total) and sacks (4.31 per game, 56 total). The unit also is the third-best rushing defense, allowing only 87.69 yards per game.
"The party in the backfield doesn't end people," Stephens tweeted.