The NCAA has reversed course on Cade Mays, granting him a waiver to play during the 2020 season. But it is not yet a done deal that he will see the field, as he now needs a waiver from the SEC, given his intraconference transfer status.
Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt announced the news to reporters on Thursday. Pruitt added that he was unsure of a timeline on getting approval from the SEC.
“The next thing is the SEC,” Pruitt told reporters, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel’s Blake Toppenmeyer. “It is a good thing our governing body decided to allow him to play. Now, we go to the SEC. I have not really had a chance to talk much (with SEC Commissioner) Greg (Sankey) about it. I know this, in this whole thing, this pandemic, Greg Sankey has done a terrific job with everybody in this conference. His No. 1 thing has always been the protection of the players and putting our athletes first.”
Mays started 18 games for Georgia in each of the last two seasons and figured to be a potential starter for Georgia on the 2020 team. But he announced he was transferring back to Tennessee in January.
Mays’ younger brother is also at Tennessee and his family is suing the University of Georgia stemming from an injury Mays’ father suffered while on a recruiting visit at Georgia in December of 2017. Cade Mays is also from Knoxville, Tenn.
In the weeks since Mays’ waiver was initially denied, Tennessee and Pruitt have gone very public in their push to get Mays eligibility for the season. Mays signed with Georgia as a member of its 2018 class.
Georgia itself did have a player gain immediate eligibility, as the NCAA granted a waiver to quarterback JT Daniels. Ironically, Daniels might not be ready to go to start the season, as he is still waiting to be medically cleared following a knee injury he suffered at USC.
The NCAA initially denied his waiver in August. Mays is not the only former Bulldog still waiting to hear on his eligibility status, as Otis Reese, now at Ole Miss, is still waiting to see if he will be eligible to play.
Mays and the Volunteers will play Georgia on Oct. 10, Georgia’s third game of the season. The Volunteers open the season against South Carolina, while Georgia starts its season against Arkansas on Sept. 26.
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