Use the force, Luke.

In yesterday’s post about the Hoffman kid being denied his transfer waiver, I, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, advised Luke Ford as follows:  “Luke, if you haven’t hired Mars yet, you might want to think about doing so.”

Turns out that might not have been as cheeky as I suggested.

First of all, you’ve probably seen the news about Ford’s waiver request also being denied by the NCAA.

What you may not have seen was that Hoffman’s request was botched by Virginia Tech.

It turns out Virginia Tech — probably unwittingly — filed a waiver request that didn’t fit Hoffman’s circumstance. We know that social media shaming has helped the NCAA find the right path in the past, but according to attorney Tom Mars, Hoffman would have been better off pursuing a standard waiver appeal to be eligible immediately at VT.

That would be the same avenue that recently got quarterbacks Shea Patterson (Michigan), Justin Fields (Ohio State) and Tate Martell (Miami) — Patterson and Fields were both Mars’ clients — eligible immediately.

… Mars indicated Hoffman needs only to file a different transfer waiver appeal citing what the NCAA calls “documented mitigating circumstances that are outside the student-athlete’s control.”

The most obvious strategy would be to cite Coastal Carolina’s coaching change as a mitigating circumstance, Mars said. Chanticleers coach Joe Moglia retired during the offseason. That strategy, utilizing Urban Meyer’s retirement, was successful in getting Martell immediate clearance to transfer from Ohio State and play immediately for Miami.

“From what I know about Brock’s family situation, I believe the NCAA would be far more willing to grant him a waiver under this exception to the year-in-residence requirement,” Mars said.

… Mars indicated that the NCAA’s hands were tied in this particular situation once Virginia Tech filed a family hardship waiver. Since 2012, the NCAA has required the destination of any athlete filing such a waiver to be within a 100-mile radius of the school.

Hoffman was told part of the reason the waiver application was denied is the family’s Statesville home is 105 miles from Virginia Tech.

Perhaps someone in Virginia Tech’s compliance department needs to learn how to read a map.

Anyway, Mars isn’t speaking as some disinterested outside bystander there.  The Hoffman family has already taken the road I suggested for Ford.

Mars, who has recently become a specialist in this area, told CBS Sports on Wednesday that he is consulting with the Hoffman family “about next steps in the waiver process.”

“If I had a chance, I’d tell [Hoffman], ‘This isn’t game over for you, Brock,'” said Mars. “In three or four weeks, if Virginia Tech moves this forward on a separate track, he’ll be granted a waiver.”

Someone in the Ford family ought to pick up the phone, right now.  No joke.


UPDATE:  All transfer waiver roads lead to Mars ($$).

Thomas Mars, who represented Justin Fields and other notable transfers in their successful waiver requests, confirmed to The Athletic that he has spoken with Tim Ford, the father of the player. Mars did not represent Ford during the initial waiver process, though he was in touch with his father. But after the NCAA denied the hardship waiver on Wednesday, Tim Ford reached out again to Mars, and the two were set to talk more on Thursday.



Filed under Transfers Are For Coaches.

28 responses to “Use the force, Luke.

  1. This process shouldn’t require a lawyer to get the desired result. The NCAA is a joke. Free Luke Ford.

    I don’t see where Ford will get relief because he doesn’t have the circumstances of these other three. Hoffman will get his appeal approved due to the Martell precedent (who shouldn’t have received immediate eligibility).


    • I don’t see where Ford will get relief because he doesn’t have the circumstances of these other three.

      I wouldn’t be so sure about that. Ford’s OC and position coach is gone to Tennessee.


      • I believe Chaney left after Ford left school.


        • Actually, it was pretty much all at the same time.


          • Chaney left on the 9th. Ford never came back to school after the bowl game. I imagine that’s what the NCAA will see. Also, will the NCAA be willing to set another precedent for a coordinator and/or position coach? I hope he wins because he and Hoffman have legitimate claims, but the precedent would be the full opening of Pandora’s Box.

            It’s too bad the NCAA is too dumb to reform the rules where none of this stuff matters.


          • Reverend Whitewall

            I dunno. Ford’s transfer was announced 1/4, Chaney’s hire was announced 1/9. That would be a tough argument to make that Ford knew of Chaney’s intentions to leave at least a week before it was announced (yes I know only 5 days between those dates, but for it to have been a factor in Ford’s decision to leave, he would have had to know before the 4th). I’m not sure even Chaney knew he was leaving then, depending on the timeline of his negotiations. If I were a third party looking at it, I’d have a hard time buying that argument.

            All that being said, I do hope Ford gets the waiver if he appeals. Just saying I think he’ll need to find another argument.


            • Luke’s decision came over several days. So did Chaney’s. There was talk about the latter almost immediately after the bowl game.


              • Reverend Whitewall

                Yeah but given the timeline of announcements, you’d be hard pressed to say anything other than Ford’s decision was finalized before Chaney’s. Then the NCAA would be saying that just your position coach even thinking about leaving is grounds for a transfer, if they used that as a reason to approve his waiver. Again I’m not advocating against the kid, but I have a hard time believing the NCAA would grant it because Chaney was in the interview process somewhere else at the time. Lots of assistant coaches talk with other schools after the season, if nothing else to get leverage for a raise at their current school. I don’t think the NCAA is going to go that route of “yes you can transfer if it’s announced during the time that your position coach is interviewing somewhere else”.

                But, this is the NCAA we’re talking about, so who the heck really knows?


      • Field’s left before all of this and we were told because UGA did not contest (big mistake) it it went through. Are we fighting Ford’s?


        • Bulldog Joe

          Luke’s a good guy, but it’s Illinois’ problem. Not ours.


        • Nashville West

          According to the article UGA has agreed to Ford’s transfer.


        • 1smartdude

          That’s the same question I had. From what I read, Kirby initially opposed Fields transfer and then then changed his mind. It seems that all players who transfer are getting rubber stamped as long as the transfer isn’t opposed. If it’s not signed off on by the program, the NCAA most likely goes to the rule book. I’m not sure they’d have a choice without that cooperation. Does anyone know what formal stance we took with the waiver?


  2. Mick Jagger

    The common sense train has left the station…….


    • Mikey

      Well he postponed that tour cause of health issues but they have that HONK vid out of all the greatest songs. Haven’t checked it out yet


  3. Go Dawgs!

    No disrespect to the lawyerin’ class, obviously. But this BS shouldn’t be an avenue for Thomas Mars to get rich. This should not. be. this. hard. These transfers should be accepted automatically. The only thing that should be out of bounds is having coaches recruit kids at other schools before they enter the portal.

    The NCAA’s big thing is that student athletes shouldn’t receive extra benefits not available to the student body just because they’re athletes (despite the huge disproportionate impact they have on the school when compared to the typical student). Well, fine. If athletes can’t have extra benefits regular students can then they should AT A MINIMUM enjoy the same benefits and freedoms available to the student body at large, and that includes the freedom to pursue, or even pretend to pursue, an education at any school that will accept them at any time. Full stop.


    • Go Dawgs!

      The NCAA wants to waste a year of this kid’s athletic career over FIVE MILES. I’m 39 years old and I run five to six days a week and in 2019 I am AVERAGING five miles per run. The NCAA is screwing this kid over a distance that I literally cover on foot almost every day in fewer than 45 minutes.

      Why do we still have this ridiculous organization running things?


  4. DREW

    I just sent an email to Mark Emmert.
    Here is his email address.

    I say we send him so many emails the whole NCAA system crashes


  5. Former Fan

    What is a joke is that these kids need to hire a lawyer to get the NCAA to do the right thing to begin with. Grant the kids the right to transfer without penalty until you stop colluding and sign individual contracts with them.


  6. Filo Betto

    Luke should have claimed some guy on the baseball team called him a “damn yankee” when we missed an assignment against UMASS. After which he felt uncomfortable trying out for the bball team.


  7. Tony Barnfart

    How hard is it to say: “nobody transfers from Georgia to Illinois unless they’re from Illinois and really need to be back at home.”

    Yes, i know that’s no way to come about a precedent, but precedent left the building a long time ago. You do not transfer from Georgia to Illinois (illinois football ?!?) unless you have a reason that is bigger than football.


  8. Will Adams

    You’ve got to be shitting me… They denied the kids waiver because his family is 105 miles from campus and not 100? This whole “best interest of the kids” shtick is one of the most obvious lies told by the NCAA ever. I’m sure VT figured that the NCAA wouldn’t punish the kid over 5 fucking miles. The NCAA as a whole should be taken out back behind the woodshed for a lashing. What a bunch of pompous fops.


  9. UGA '97

    Thomas Mars = Time Life’s Person of The Year