By: Franz Beard
WILL COX BE ELIGIBLE? DON’T BET AGAINST MULLEN
Tom Mars, the attorney who helped several prominent undergraduate transfers gain waivers for immediate eligibility, doesn’t seem to think much of the University of Florida’s petition to gain immediate eligibility for Georgia transfer Brenton Cox. Speaking to Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday, Mars stated, “Unless there’s some well-kept secret that would qualify him for a waiver, I’d say chances of Brenton Cox getting a waiver are approximately zero.”
Zero? That seems odd when you take into consideration some of the prominent waivers granted by the NCAA in the last few months. The NCAA granted a waiver for quarterback Justin Fields to transfer from Georgia to Ohio State essentially because a former Georgia baseball player hurt his feelings using racist slang. That triggered Ohio State quarterback Tate Martell to transfer to Miami all because he was scared to death of a little competition. The NCAA, of course, granted Martell a waiver and there have been many others granted for equally silly reasons.
All things considered, getting that waiver from the NCAA might not be all that tough. Florida coach Dan Mullen said at his Monday press conference, “We feel good about it, of having him be able to play. You look at all the previous scenarios that are out there around the country. We feel we have a good opportunity.”
Yes, there is an opportunity with the NCAA. The Southeastern Conference? That’s likely the larger obstacle for Mullen and the Gators because even if the Gators get a waiver from the NCAA, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey would have to sign off on it and that would go against rules that are in place regarding transfers from one SEC school to another. League rules stipulate that an intra-conference transfer has to sit a year with two exceptions, none of which apply to Cox, who is a redshirt freshman: (1) The player has an undergraduate degree, and (2) the school that the player is leaving has been hit by NCAA sanctions. Florida was able to get Van Jefferson immediately eligible last year under scenario two since Ole Miss was facing a bowl ban and other restrictions.
Conventional wisdom says Cox will have to sit this season but for all we know he may very well have serious legal representation, something Mars knows all too well. When he petitioned for waivers he had the unspoken threat of serious legal action unless a favorable ruling was issued. So, since we don’t know all the reasons Cox has transferred and we aren’t 100% sure what kind of legal help he’s getting, don’t bet against Dan Mullen.
MARTELL STILL AT MIAMI … FOR NOW
A day after he didn’t attend football practice following HBC Manny Diaz naming Jarren Williams his starting QB, Tate Martell back at practice Tuesday. Whether skipping Monday practice was just Martell needing time away to address his disappointment or a tantrum by someone who’s about to begin his third year of college football and still hasn’t won the starting job, this is the kind of distraction that can’t be good for a team that is less than two weeks away from its season opener.
While Miami will try to gloss it over and spin this as the emotional reaction by a fiery competitor, it’s just the latest sign of immaturity on Martell’s part. Remember the stern warning Martell issued when Justin Fields was on the verge of announcing he would be transferring to Ohio State from Georgia? As soon as Fields made the transfer official, Martell blew out of Columbus like a runaway freight train for The U where it was expected he would lap the competition for the starting QB job even before spring practice was over. When that didn’t happen, Cane apologists blamed it on Martell learning a new system. Well, he’s had the spring and summer to learn it and he still can’t beat out a QB who played in one game and threw one pass in 2018.
Now Martell might elect to stay at The U and he might eventually become the starting QB and do well. Maybe. But what if he doesn’t? Can Manny Diaz think for one second he’ll have a happy camper on his hands? This has all the makings of a wound that is going to fester.
SOME GOOD QUOTES FOR WEDNESDAY
From David M. Hale of ESPN, talking about how Georgia fans hope and pray Jake Fromm will lead the Poodles to the Promised Land: “To be a Georgia fan is to smell success like the faint stink of stale beer and cigarettes on your clothes after a long night on Clayton Street. It's a hazy memory of happier times, supplanted by a pounding headache and nausea. And yet, here they are, ready again to embrace a new hero, a guy who's already endured his share of near misses ... It's hard to not to lump Fromm in with the rest of the lingering "what if" moments in recent Georgia lore -- if only D.J. Shockley hadn't gotten hurt before the Florida game in 2005, if only Georgia hadn't flubbed the Tennessee gamein 2007, if only Chris Conley hadn't caught the pass to let time run out in 2012. "If" has defined Georgia, and for all his success through two seasons in Athens, it's still written in big, bold type on Fromm's résumé, too.” From Matt Fortuna of The Athletic, Coach O, who transferred from LSU to Northwestern State back in his playing days, talks about the transfer portal and it’s impact on today’s college football: “I regretted it. I promise you right now. Every day that I was at Northwestern (State) I loved being there, but I regretted leaving LSU. So I think you need to make it tough for the guys, to tough it out. There are going to be experiences that they have to go [through]. You know there’s 400-some guys in the portal right now that don’t have a scholarship. The grass is greener on the other side of the fence. They left a good school, and they have nowhere to go. So I think the guys really need to think twice before doing it.” More from Fortuna, this from South Carolina coach Will Muschamp: “As far as transfer portal, it really doesn’t matter what I think because the rules aren’t going to change. So I think you just have to do a good job as a head coach of managing your roster. If somebody wants to be at South Carolina, great; if they don’t, go somewhere else.” From The Guardian, Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer speaks out about equal pay for women in sports like soccer and tennis: "I think for me, it's ridiculous. It's the same like tennis. If there are watching, for the World Cup final, 500 million people or something like that, and 100 million for a women's final, that's a difference. So it's not the same. And of course they have to be paid what they deserve to [earn] and not less, just what they really deserve. If it's just as popular as the men, they will get it, because the income and the advertising will go into that. But it's not like that, so why do they have to earn the same? I think it's ridiculous. I don't understand that."
From Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com on the NCAA and its Commission on College Basketball: “The Commission on College Basketball was formed as a response to the FBI investigation that placed a negative light on the sport – but good luck trying to find anybody who thinks they've accomplished much. Truth is, they've done more harm than good. They've broken more things than they've fixed. They've taken an imperfect system and made it less perfect. And, at some point, and sooner rather than later, the NCAA must move them to the side, let them disappear, and start taking recommendations from people who actually understand the issues within college basketball and possess thoughtful ideas about how to fix them.”
SEC FOOTBALL/BASKETBALL STUFF
South Carolina tight end Evan Hinson tested for an irregular heartbeat after complaining about difficulty breathing. He will have surgery to correct the issue and will be out for six to eight weeks.
Linebacker Joshua McMillon injured his right knee and will require surgery. Al.com reports that McMillon could miss the entire 2019 season ... Freshman O-lineman Pierce Quick is wearing a walking boot and did not practice Tuesday.
The Knoxville News-Sentinel reports that Tennessee led the nation in buyout payments in the fiscal year that ended in June 2018. The Vols spent more than $13 million on fired coaches. Nebraska, Florida, Arizona State and UCLA all spent more than $12 million. Tennessee linebacker Jordan Allen is recovering from hip flexor surgery that could keep him out a few weeks of the 2019 season … Meanwhile defensive back Baylen Buchanan, who started all 12 games for the Vols last season, is dealing with a spinal issue that could keep him from playing this season.
Andy Burcham takes over as the play-by-play voice of Auburn football and basketball for the late Rod Bramblett, who was killed in an auto accident earlier in the year. Quarterback D’Wan Mathis, who had surgery to deal with a cyst on his brain, is practicing at Georgia but he hasn’t been fully cleared.
Missouri tight end Albert Okwuebunam continues to be limited due to injuries. He missed Saturday’s scrimmage and Monday’s practice dealing with a sprained knee. Arkansas has added home-and-home games with Oklahoma State in 2032-33 with Arkansas traveling to Stillwater in 2032 and Okie State returning the favor in 2033. Offensive lineman Calvin Ashley, who transferred from Auburn to Florida Atlantic back in February, has elected to transfer from FAU.
The injury bug seems to be hitting LSU hard. On the defensive side of the ball, All-American safety Grant Delpit has missed six consecutive practices while linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson has missed seven in a row. Corner Kristian Fulton, who missed five practices last week with a lingering foot problem, was absent Tuesday. Freshman DB Maurice Hampton has missed two straight practices and has a protective cast on his right wrist. Three O-line starters missed practice Tuesday – LT Saahdiq Charles, LG Chasen Hines and RG Damien Lewis. Wide receiver Derrick Dillon has missed the last two practices and four of the last five.
RANDOM THOUGHTS: Even though he was acquitted on sexual assault charges, the University of Wisconsin doesn’t want wide receiver Quintez Cephus to return. Cephus missed the entire 2018 season after he was charged with second and third degree sexual assault … As a high school senior in Linden, California, New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge had 954 yards and 17 touchdowns as a receiver on the football team and 18 points and 13 rebounds per game for the basketball team ... Oakland Raiders’ wide receiver Antonio Brown lost his appeal and will have to wear an NFL approved helmet. Brown had threatened to sit out the season if he couldn’t use his old helmet but has elected to play. Perhaps the guaranteed $30 million of his 3-year $50 million contract had something to do with it …Just a day after a new rule that required an agent to have a bachelor’s degree to maintain good standing with the NCAA, the nitwits who run the organization reversed course and amended the “Rich Paul Rule” so that agents without a bachelor’s degree but are certified and in good standing with NBA Players Association can represent college players ... And since we’re on the subject of what Brian Bosworth once deemed the “National Communists Against Athletes,” the organization has placed Utah basketball on two years probation for multiple recruiting violations deemed major but none of which rise to the heinous level of Dwight Adams buying Dale Dorminey a pack of Juicy Fruit and a Sprite at the Gainesville airport back in the 1980s … Just in case you follow Major League Baseball, the Boston Red Sox are a mere 17-1/2 games behind the New York Yankees in the American League East. The Yankees need to go 20-21 the rest of the way to get to 100 wins. For the Red Sox to get to 100 they would need to go 37-3.