Ohio State already got their first victory of 2019 on Friday, when transfer quarterback Justin Fields from Georgia successfully appeal to be eligible immediately to play this fall. Now, the question is: are the Miami Hurricanes about the benefit the same way with their prized transfer Tate Martell?
First, in another example of the NCAA doing whatever it wants and ruling however it wants, regardless of previous president, Fields, who transferred from Georgia in December was granted immediate eligibility to play this upcoming season. This, despite having no foreseeable legitimate reason that he should not have to sit out a transfer year like hundreds of other transferring major college football and basketball players have had to do for the past few decades.
The ESPN item from Dan Murphy above cites how the NCAA has adjusted it’s waiver policy and now considers “if he (transferring player) can show “documented mitigation circumstances” that the change of schools was made to better impact his “health, safety and well-being.”
However, Fields is from Kennesaw, Georgia and was playing at the University of Georgia. And, he is transferring to a program more than 500 miles away in Columbus, Ohio. So, there could not have been a real argument that Fields needed to go to Columbus, because he was undergoing some kind of family hardship.
The main point (which everyone understands) is he wanted to be quarterbacking the Buckeyes and be able to play immediately.
All of that above is an important point with the Miami QB situation for this fall and Martell.
Ironically, Martell is in the middle of this whole transfer soap opera mess, because he left Ohio State at around the same time Fields was looking to transfer there.
As we wrote previously, Martell is a Las Vegas High School star that was wooed East to Ohio State by Urban Meyer. However, he saw little-to-no playing time over the last couple of seasons. This included him riding the bench in 2018, as Dwayne Haskins led Ohio State to the Big Ten Championship and a Rose Bowl victory over Washington on New Year’s Day.
Martell chose to transfer to Miami, as new Hurricanes coach Manny Diaz took over and hired Dan Enos, the former Alabama quarterback coach, to be his offensive coordinator. Obviously, one of the biggest factors is that Martell understands that he’s got a legitimate chance to win the starting job with the only real competition being last year’s part time starter N’Kosi Perry being on the roster.
And now, very similar to Fields his case, Martell doesn’t have a legitimate hardship reason to go from Columbus, Ohio to Miami and somehow be eligible to play this fall.
However, now that the college governing body Friday green lighted Fields’ eligibility, it seems unlikely if almost impossible, that they could look at the Martell-Miami situation and say: “you don’t deserve the chance to play to under our new relaxed guidelines.”
Another example of those guidelines has been: a player having already graduated from school. The NCAA clearly laid out a decade ago that a player could, then transfer immediately anywhere else that they wanted.
This was the case with Alabama transfer in quarterback Jalen Hurts, who got his degree in December. And he was actually talking to Miami in January about possibly transferring with Enos, as he got the offensive coordinator job.
Ultimately, Hurts chose Oklahoma and head coach Lincoln Riley for this fall. And, that enabled Martell to step in as the possible transfer solution in Coral Gables.
As for both Fields and Martell, neither of them have obtained their degree from Georgia or Ohio State to take advantage of that part of the policy.
So, now we wait for the appeal process of Martell and wonder if the NCAA denies him, as some continue to suggest in South Florida, that it’s a bias or different set of stringent standards that are put towards the Hurricanes.
This is because they have been in trouble repeatedly in the past with the NCAA, including earlier this decade with the Nevin Shapiro controversy/investigation.
Will Martell win his appeal to play now? Fields’ victory for his eligibility certainly didn’t hurt.
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