The NCAA doesn’t typically reveal why it grants some waivers of the mandatory “year in residence” for transfers and denies others. Illinois tight end Luke Ford is one player left wondering why his waiver request was denied.
Ford — the top-rated recruit in Illinois in the Class of 2018 — transferred from Georgia to Illinois in January, citing his grandparents’ failing health and his desire to play closer to home. He’s from Carterville, Ill., which is about 190 miles south of Champaign, and Illinois is one of the closest major football programs to his hometown.
The NCAA in 2012 established a distance limit of 100 miles in cases like Ford’s.
An Illinois spokesman said in a statement Wednesday that the program is disappointed in the decision to deny Ford’s waiver request and plans to help him appeal.
“My Waiver got denied,” Ford tweeted Wednesday. “Thanks for all your support. It’s all in the Lord’s timing.”
Apparently, it’s also up to the NCAA’s whims.
The NCAA also this week denied a waiver for immediate eligibility for offensive lineman Brock Hoffman, who transferred from Coastal Carolina to Virginia Tech to be closer to his mother. She had surgery in 2017 to remove a brain tumor and now struggles with facial paralysis and hearing and eyesight loss, but Hoffman said on Twitter that the NCAA denied his request because his hometown is five miles outside the 100-mile radius and because it said his mother’s condition is improving.
I don’t care which side of the transfer waiver divide you stand on, if you’re a fair-minded person, this has to be nothing but rank bullshit. It comes off as little more than a random exercise of power over young men’s lives, young men who are already troubled with family problems. To insist on enforcing some arbitrary measure is cruel.
I’ll say it again — just give every kid one bite at the immediate transfer apple and be done with it. What the NCAA has done with these two, especially in light of the Martell decision, seems little better than the pre-portal days when coaches could arbitrarily block players’ movement. Very sad for Ford and Hoffman, who deserve better.