… then second-string quarterback transfer angst is the worst angst of all.
Oh, Georgia knows. So do we, just based on this Chip Towers’ report.
Justin Fields might not be out the door just yet, but it appears he’s heading that way.
Asked if she could confirm reports that her son intends to transfer from Georgia, Fields’ stepmother said she could not. But she also didn’t deny them.
“We’re not at liberty to discuss anything,” Jo Ann Claudrick Fields said via telephone Monday night. “We’re not confirming or denying anything. We have not made any decisions.”
That’s a bad “so you’re saying there’s a chance” joke, Jo Ann.
Mark Schlabach reports that this has been an ongoing thing for a while now.
“[Fields transferring] is a possibility, but we expect him to play in the Sugar Bowl,” the source said. “It’s not done. He practiced [Monday] and practiced his ass off. He’s going to explore what’s out there. He might come back.”
The source said that Fields and his father have had multiple meetings with Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart about his future over the past few weeks, and that Fields hasn’t formally requested a transfer, nor has he been placed in the NCAA’s transfer portal, which notifies other schools that he’s interested in leaving.
As far as that last point goes, life comes at you fast sometimes.
Freshman quarterback Justin Fields has told the Georgia coaching staff he’s looking into transferring after the conclusion of the 2018 season.
Fields asked to have his name included on the NCAA Transfer Portal list. The transfer portal takes the place of the release student athletes once needed from their coaches before they could speak with other schools.
So far, this is simply at the information gathering stage for Fields and his family. The big question remains how soon he can expect to play if he transfers. As I’ve mentioned, if he has to sit out a year before being eligible, then it makes less sense to go, because of the possibility that if Fromm’s career continues on its current trajectory, he becomes a likely early departee for the NFL draft, which means Fields would have the chance to start at Georgia in 2020.
However, we’re in the new age of NCAA transfers, so perhaps you should get to know Thomas Mars.
Fields and his family are expected to consult with attorney Thomas Mars. Mars was instrumental in helping a number of Ole Miss student athletes appeal the NCAA rule that requires transfers between FBS schools to sit out one year. Those athletes, notable Shea Patterson of Michigan, were allowed to play immediately.
Appeal what? Glad you asked. Andy Staples explains one possible line of argument here:
If freshman quarterback Justin Fields wants to leave Georgia and transfer to another school as USA Today’s Dan Wolken reported Monday night, the former five-star recruit from Kennesaw, Ga., could use the same new NCAA transfer waiver guidelines that helped Shea Patterson play this year at Michigan after transferring from Ole Miss. And Fields might have an even stronger case than Patterson did.
In April, the NCAA’s Division I Council provided new guidance to schools regarding waivers for undergraduate transfers who felt they shouldn’t have to complete the NCAA-mandated year-in-residence before taking the field for their new team. Here are those guidelines. Read No. 1 very carefully.
1. The transfer is due to documented mitigating circumstances that are outside the student-athlete’s control and directly impact the health, safety and well-being of the student-athlete;
… During Georgia’s win against Tennessee on Sept. 29, Georgia baseball player Adam Sasser was overheard by other students in the stands yelling, “Put the [n-word] in.” Sasser allegedly was referring to Fields, who backed up sophomore Jake Fromm. While the accusation against Sasser was being investigated by Georgia’s Equal Opportunity Office, Sasser was dismissed from the baseball team.
All of this has been documented by Georgia. So if Fields makes the waiver request, the NCAA panel that reviews that request would have access to all that information.
And it wouldn’t be a stretch at all if, in 2019, a young black man such as Fields said his safety and well-being might be affected by continuing to stay at a school where a white fellow athlete would refer to a black athlete by that word—even if it was lobbed from the stands while the player was on the field. Even if Fields wanted to transfer exclusively for playing time reasons, the NCAA would be foolish to challenge such an assertion and Georgia officials would be crazy to do anything except wish Fields well as he plays next season at his new school. No matter what anyone considers the real reason for the transfer, trying to force Fields to sit out would only make everyone else look terrible.
Sure, it’s a real stretch, but while I disagree with Andy’s “even stronger case” characterization, it really doesn’t matter because his bottom line reason is right — it’s a terrible look for Georgia to contest it.
Just not for the reason he suggests. Kirby’s made it clear he’ll go after as many five-star kids as he can take at any key position, regardless of the backlog it may create. He’s selling opportunity, so what kind of message does it send to recruits if he fights a kid’s subsequent transfer attempt when the logjam reaches critical mass? From his standpoint, the most important thing is for the pipeline to be refilled constantly.
Now, two points need to be made here. One, Fields hasn’t made a final decision, per Schlabach and Nabulsi. In fact, he’s still practicing with the team and is expected to play in the Sugar Bowl. All signs point to his leaving, but if he hasn’t quite pulled the trigger yet, I suspect that gets back to the NCAA waiver question.
Second, I’m sure there are going to be a lot of fingers pointed at the coaches as to how Fields was used this season, with that being the subtext behind the transfer decision. Occam’s razor suggests otherwise to me.
Fromm, meanwhile, developed into one of the best quarterbacks in the country. The sophomore is third in the nation in passer efficiency rating (175.81) with 2,537 yards, 27 touchdown passes and four interceptions.
Fromm will be a junior next season…
I think Fields was sincere when he made his decision to sign with Georgia and said he wasn’t afraid of competition. I think Smart was sincere when he told Fields and his family the freshman would have a legitimate chance to win the starting job this season. Fromm simply made that impossible.
It’s a little ironic, then, to complain about the coaches’ work with Fields while noting Fromm’s remarkable improvement in year two. There’s a track record at work there suggesting that Fields may be in for better times were he to stay. I even suspect that may be a factor in his decision making about whether to stay or go. In the end, though, if Fields believes he can leave and start immediately, I don’t see any way he stays in Athens.
However it goes, more power to him. Everybody has to do what’s best for himself.