The NCAA has granted Justin Hilliard a sixth year of eligibility.
The former five-star linebacker has dealt with two torn biceps and a torn Achilles during his time at Ohio State, causing him to miss significant time during his five seasons in Columbus. As a result, Hilliard will get a sixth.
The NCAA can award an extra year of eligibility if “the student-athlete is deprived of the opportunity to participate for more than one season in his or her sport within the five-year period of eligibility for reasons that are beyond the control of the student-athlete or the institution," per bylaw 18.104.22.168.1 in the NCAA Division I Manual.
The NCAA ruled that Hilliard met those guidelines, given his injury history.
With his eligibility in question, Hilliard said he was treating this season as if it was his final one in Columbus, but said he would "probably" return if his application was approved. With that approval now a formality, Hilliard says he does plan to return to the Buckeyes next season.