About those Martell floodgates

Tate Martell’s attorney is trying to soft sell the impact of the NCAA’s decision to grant his client a transfer waiver.

“This was a fact and circumstances case,” Leach said by phone Tuesday. “I don’t think this is something you will see a wholesale change to the way people look at [NCAA transfer cases]. It was a unique situation.”

He wouldn’t say what those unique facts were, but Martell’s new school was happy to fill in the blanks.

▪ Leach, according to a UM source, made the case that after landing quarterback Justin Fields from Georgia, Ohio State made no efforts to keep Martell. This argument carried weight with the NCAA.

After Ohio State landed Fields, the relationship between Martell and the Buckeyes obviously was impacted, and “no efforts were made by Ohio State to rectify the feelings between the two,” the source said. “Tate felt it was in his and Ohio State’s best interests to transfer.

Ohio State did not object to that or try to get him to change his mind.”

▪ Leach, according to those UM sources, made the case that once Martell entered the transfer portal, he was no longer affiliated with the Ohio State program and was essentially a free agent because of the way their divorce went down.

Here’s why: By the time he entered the portal, Ohio State had shown no interest in Martell staying.

“At that point,” according to a UM source, “he’s run off and now has to find a new home and found [UM].”

Now, that’s a rather sizeable leap being made there.  Showing no interest is not the same thing as being run off.  Nobody has made the statement that Ohio State revoked Martell’s scholarship.

And let’s take a moment to recall a couple of things here.  One, Martell’s initial reaction to the news that Fields was interested in an Ohio State transfer wasn’t to tuck tail and run.  Two, don’t forget that Martell once pondered a transfer waiver after the news of Urban Meyer’s suspension.

It’s hard to see this as anything more than a kid looking for greener pastures.

It’s also worth remembering what the NCAA’s waiver guidelines say.

In April, the NCAA’s Division I Council provided new guidelines for undergraduate transfer waivers:

■ 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;

■ At the time of transfer to the certifying institution, the student-athlete would have been athletically and academically eligible and in good standing on the team had he or she remained at the previous institution;

■ The certifying institution must certify that the student-athlete meets percentage-of-degree requirements; and

■ The previous institution’s athletics administration does not oppose the transfer.

Martell doesn’t meet the first of those criteria, and it doesn’t sound like Miami is even making a half-hearted effort to argue that he did.  To meet the rest, though, Martell would have to be “in good standing on the team had he or she remained at the previous institution”, which would seem to be contradicted by an argument that he was being run off by Ohio State.

In other words, most of this is bullshit.  Martell wanted gone once it was clear he was being supplanted by Fields.  Ryan Day didn’t have a problem accommodating Martell in that regard.  That’s it.  And here’s the thing — there’s nothing wrong with granting a transfer waiver under those circumstances.  If a kid doesn’t want to stay at a program and his coach doesn’t care if he leaves, then why should there be a limitation imposed on his decision to transfer?  Indeed, that should be the easiest of calls.

Unfortunately, nobody seems willing to couch the NCAA’s decision in such a way, and that’s because the waiver guidelines don’t allow for it.  In my mind, that’s why I feel the floodgates have opened; if you’ve got a rule that you don’t care to follow, it’s not much of a rule.

The next test case I’m curious to follow will be the one where a coach “releases” a player, but restricts the kid from transferring to certain programs and the player, or more accurately, the player’s attorney objects.  Is that a situation where the player is being run off, or not?

Hair splitting is a beyotch.


Filed under The NCAA, Transfers Are For Coaches.

21 responses to “About those Martell floodgates

  1. GruvenDawg

    So is the new requirement for a successful transfer case both sides agree the player can leave and you just have to lawyer up? It doesn’t even look like they argued the Meyer/Smith situation as additional points. Based on the comments in the story an existing college QB could make the same argument “they recruited another QB in this years class and I want to leave”

    It will be interesting to see how this develops over the next two years. Perhaps it’s not going to be a big deal or perhaps we end up with thousands in the transfer portal every year…


  2. stoopnagle

    Just jumping in here to state that the Martell family seem like real charmers. Given Tate’s reputation, I wasn’t necessarily shocked at his sister’s twitter page.


  3. Uglydawg

    It reads “He’s run off”.
    That’s different from “He’s been run off”.
    I think Martel might brought some unsavory things to tOSU that they were more than happy to be rid of. Just my guess.


    • If I use your interpretation, wouldn’t that mean every time a player leaves the reservation by choice, he’s free to transfer without restriction?


    • Uglydawg

      “He’s run off” is quoting a UM source..so it is probably was meant to be, “He’s been run off”. I suspect kids get run off from programs all of the time..they are ostracized and ignored..given the cold shoulder by coaches etc. unti it becomes so uncomfortable that they quietly quit. Without the resources and talent appeal of a Martel, they just lose out.
      This is where the Transfer Portal could be a very good thing. When the coaches sour on a kid they should tell him that they will help him find work elsewhere.
      Maybe each school should be required to have a (non-athletic dept..) counselor trained and dedicated to helping such kids. It could be a collateral task for an present employee.. But someone who really has a heart for helping a kid find the right transfer would be a nice thing.


  4. SCDawg

    I would argue that OSU was not just unopposed, or uncaring if he left, but was all too happy to see Martell gone. Actually I think they see it as a huge benefit. Martell is who he is and would have been a problem for the team. Did they somehow let the NCAA know that? Did they not just “not oppose” but actually tell or signal the ncaa they wanted him gone? Pure speculation on my part but I think it is an interesting question.


  5. Go Dawgs!

    Perhaps it’s noteworthy that this BS explanation is being given by the kid’s lawyer and not anyone from the NCAA. I’d be interested in hearing how the NCAA explains granting the waiver, because obviously the Martell argument runs counter to their guidelines as you’ve laid out above.


  6. Mayor

    I think Martell’s situation meets the first test because of Corch’s retirement. But hey, that’s just me.


    • Uglydawg

      It does. Howevah- we know it’s bullshit (he really left because of Fields).
      I do think he was probably getting bad vibes from his coaches.


  7. chopdawg

    What’s getting lost in all this: Ohio State, usually one of the top football programs in the nation, is pinning their 2019 hopes on a young, totally untested QB

    Liked by 1 person


    Well, Fields does cotton to competition very well…OSU had to know that.


  9. moe pritchett

    Maybe it’s just me but I got this if I got nothing else;

    “no efforts were made by Ohio State to rectify the feelings between the two,”

    Their ”feelings” were hurt. Their FEELINGS.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. MDDawg

    To say that he was “run off” seems like hyperbole on the part of the UM source and doesn’t mean he wasn’t in good standing. As far as I know, Martell was still eligible from an academic and disciplinary standpoint, so that to me equals “good standing”. We’re not talking about a player who’d been suspended for the first game(s) of the upcoming season for violating team rules or whatever. Plus all those comments are coming from a UM source, not Martell’s lawyer. For all we know, he did use the Zach Smith scandal and Meyer’s subsequent retirement as the basis for the waiver.


  11. Bill Glennon

    Schools are valuing their short term considerations ahead of long term implications. The NCAA dosen’t want to be the bad guy.

    When players schools don’t want to leave start transferring, how are the schools or the NCAA going to have the moral authority to enforce the rules?

    Parallels to illegal immigration.


  12. Bright Idea

    What will this flood be like after spring practices?


  13. The Dawg abides

    It really is a matter of splitting hairs. Actually, the “health” part of the first criteria is highly subjective. Especially in today’s climate of what some refer to as “generation snowflake” (and I don’t throw that term around lightly). It wouldn’t surprise me if it was argued that Martell’s mental state was fragile after the coaching change and addition of Fields as competition for the qb spot, to which Tate thought he was entitled. And there was no way in hell OSU was going to oppose the transfer based solely on their vested interest in the decision on Fields’ eligibility appeal. In fact, IF you believe Tommy Mars’ claim that the racial slur incident wasn’t used in the Fields family’s appeal, then the only other argument based on the criteria would be Justin’s fragile mental state which resulted from not being handed the starting job to which he and his family believed they were entitled to.
    Of course that’s probably bullshit and Occam’s Razor suggests that the NCAA wanted no part in denying Fields’ appeal because of the racial element involved, and the domino effect led to the Martell decision. Both cases were interconnected, so pragmatically, and probably reluctantly, the NCAA felt they had to grant Martell’s appeal. In a vacuum without Fields’ case, I don’t think Martell wins his.


  14. Trbodawg

    I, in my non-attorney reading of the NCAA guideline, believe the key phrase is “well-being of the student athlete.” A student’s ‘well-being’ is impacted by an infinite number of things, no longer being BMOC is one of them.