There’s been a change of plans for former Niagara Falls football standout Dale Stewart, who less than a week ago was training for the Lions All-Star High School Football Classic and preparing to enter the University at Buffalo football camp under an athletic scholarship on Aug. 8.
Stewart received a letter from UB’s compliance offices Wednesday informing him that he was academically ineligible to attend the university.
Ready to follow in the footsteps of older brother and UB career rushing leader James Starks, Stewart will now embark on a different path, attending Iowa Western Community College, where he will begin camp on Aug. 1.
UB’s associate athletic director for communications Paul Vecchio said Stewart’s scholarship offer was rescinded after the university’s compliance department determined Stewart had failed to qualify and be eligible for the National Letter of Intent. “He didn’t meet University standards and NCAA standards,” Vecchio said Friday.
Stewart said that he was told his standardized test scores were not high enough to gain admission.
“In my head I was thinking, I worked so hard trying to get in,” Stewart said by phone from the home of Starks, who is now with the Green Bay Packers. “When you fall short you feel like you’re at the end of your road, but when you don’t make a qualification for the NCAA you have to have a Plan B.”
Stewart, who is training in Green Bay until he leaves for Council Bluffs, Iowa, said his Plan B includes getting back to UB. “I believe in my talent and I know what I can do for their school,” he said.
Stewart played quarterback, running back, wide receiver, kick returner, punt returner and safety for Niagara Falls High School, but said he'll focus on being a slot receiver and kick returner in college.
He’ll be taking with him a new plan has the same old attitude.
“I have the same mindset I had before,” said Stewart. “It doesn’t matter what school I’m going to. I’m going to be real focused. I’m not scared of anyone. It’s smaller than D1, but I’m going to work ten times harder to get back to D1.”