Ferris State, No. 2 in the Division II national football rankings, has won its first seven games this season and is dreaming of a shot at a national championship, but that suddenly could be in jeopardy.
Defensive lineman Dan Perry, who spent time at Kent State and Michigan, played in the first four games this year because the Bulldogs thought he was eligible.
A Ferris State spokesman said the school later realized he was not eligible and he has not played since.
However, the damage might be done.
"By design, the eligibility of every student-athlete is certified by the University, independent of the Athletics Department," Vice President for Student Affairs Jeanine Ward-Roof said in a statement. "The student-athlete's transfer history was complex, and the error by the department that certifies student-athlete eligibility was the result of a misinterpretation of a transfer rule."
Ferris State, located in Big Rapids, Mich., did not identify Perry, but mlive.com confirmed that he is the player involved.
Perry was a true freshman wrestler at Michigan during the 2016-17 academic year, transferred after wrestling season and was on the football roster at Kent State during the 2017 football season.
After redshirting last season at Kent, he transferred to Ferris State after the 2017 football season to play football for the Bulldogs.
Because of the two transfers in 2017, Perry should have been required to sit out the 2018 season, despite dropping from the FBS to Division II level of football.
Ferris State reported the violation to the NCAA, which will determine whether or not the school will face sanctions for playing an ineligible player.
The punishment could include forfeiting the victories in the four games he played.
Ferris State is second in the latest Division II rankings to Minnesota State (7-0), which received 25 first-place votes. Ferris State was the only other team to land any first-place votes, with five.