By Cody Soto
UPDATED: 4:48 p.m. with comments from Art Briles
UPDATED: 2:45 p.m. with statements from the NCAA and the Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw
Baylor football junior running back Silas Nacita has been removed from the program for receiving improper benefits, according to a statement from Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw.
Nacita is not on the Bears’ spring roster and did not participate in any practice this week with the team. The news was released on Wednesday afternoon confirming the reports.
“Silas Nacita will not be a part of the football program moving forward due to rules violations that impact his eligibility,” McCaw said in a statement. “We appreciate his contributions to Baylor football and wish him well as he completes his studies.”
Some confusion occurred after Nacita made a statement via Twitter early Wednesday morning. The Bakersfield, Calif., native said a close family friend insisted on helping him with living expenses after he was unable to make ends meet, causing him to couch surf while taking online classes at McLennan Community College.
He said that it was the decision of the NCAA to rule him ineligible.
“Because I accepted that offer instead of choosing to be homeless, I am no longer eligible to play football and pursue my dream. I had no idea I was breaking any rules, but I respect the decision of the NCAA,” Nacita wrote on his Twitter account.
After the tweet was posted, fans rushed to their respective social media outlets to show their opinions of the ruling. After several hours, the official NCAA twitter account released a statement denying any claim of ineligibility.
The Twitter statement said: “The NCAA did not declare Silas Nacita ineligible and Baylor has not requested a waiver for him.”
Head coach Art Briles addressed the situation on Wednesday afternoon before spring practice but did not provide any more in-depth explanations of the situation. Before starting the team’s second practice, Briles voiced his concern of Nacita’s removal.
“It kind of snowballed in on us within the last week or so,” Briles said. “Hopefully there will be a remedy. I don’t know what it is right now unfortunately, but hopefully it will be a chance for him to continue his dream. He’s a team member. If you’re a part of our team, you’re a part of our family.”
No further information has been given on the decision, and Briles said the decision ultimately does not come from his department. However, he did say Nacita would be welcomed back if the issues were resolved.
“This situation is handled through compliance, it’s not handled through the football department,” Briles said. “If he’s eligible, he’ll be back; this is out of our control.”
During the 2014 season, Nacita rushed for 191 yards and three touchdowns as he became a fan favorite, performing at both running back and on special teams. . Thanks to an errant autocorrect, Nacita became known by the nickname “Salsa Nacho.”
Lariat sports editor Shehan Jeyarajah contributed to this report.