CORK dual star Aidan Walsh will play no part in either the 2013 Sigerson or Fitzgibbon Cups after his appeal to the Central Appeals Committee (CAC) was rejected.
The GAA's Higher Education Board ruling in October prevents players who have studied six years or taken more than two college courses from playing football or hurling at third level. Walsh had previously enrolled in two courses in CIT, and so cannot play for his new college DCU.
Donegal sub-goalkeeper Michael Boyle has also seen his appeal rejected. Higher Education chairman Ray O'Brien says that the new rules – which were put in place in September 2010 – are part of an overall review of third level games. The rule has come under fire but O'Brien believes the majority of students will complete a degree course and potentially a postgraduate course and will leave college with a proper qualification and will not be affected by the new rule.
"There are plenty instances of players being enticed away from colleges to attend other institutions," he told the Sunday Independent.
"This rule will make students and colleges think very hard about potential implications of switching institutions. Unfortunately, there will be casualties as a consequence of previous abuse."
The new rule can now only be changed if a motion of amendment is drafted at next year's Congress and receives a two-thirds majority.
"We are not against changes to rules," O'Brien adds. "We are bound by our constitution and if a college decides to bring a motion then that is their prerogative. If a motion receives the required majority, it will be passed.
"The last thing we want to do is stop people playing. Once they obey the rules we do not have an issue. We do not want to spend meeting after meeting analysing students' records when we have so much to get through. We are more than just Sigerson and Fitzgibbon administrators – we cater for upwards of 6,000 students, who compete in 16 leagues before Christmas and 16 championships after Christmas. In total almost 800 games are played."
Meanwhile, Connacht Council opened its new state of the art GAA centre in Claremorris yesterday. The facility which took two years to construct will serve inter-county teams, development squads, clubs and also the educational sector and cost €8m to complete.