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Georgia football fans agree the NCAA gets it wrong when it comes to Luke Ford decision
The Luke Ford waiver decision should’ve been an easy one.
The tight end transferred from Georgia following the conclusion of the Sugar Bowl. He announced his transfer decision to Illinois on Jan. 4, the same day Justin Fields announced his decision to transfer to Ohio State.
Ford made the decision to transfer closer to his home in Illinois in part because his grandfather’s health had taken a turn for the worse.
The NCAA had seemingly become more relaxed on its transfer restrictions. It granted waivers to Fields, as well as former Ohio State quarterback Tate Martell. That comes a year after granting a waiver to current Georgia wide receiver Demetris Robertson. Like Ford, Robertson transferred from one Power Five school, Cal, to a Power Five school closer to home.
But this past week it looks like the NCAA has reversed course on its decision to be relaxed on transfers. First, the NCAA denied Virginia Tech offensive lineman Brock Hoffman a waiver to play. He transferred to be closer to his sick mother. Then on Wednesday afternoon, Ford put out the news that the NCAA denied his waiver to play right away.
My Waiver got denied… Thanks for all your support😔 It’s all in the Lord’s timing🙏🏽
— L U K E F O R D™️ (@lukeredx97) April 24, 2019
“We’re all disappointed Luke Ford’s waiver request for immediate eligibility was denied,” Illinois spokesman Kent Brown said in a statement. “There is an appeal process that we intend to help Luke explore.”
Ford and Illinois will have a chance to appeal the decision. But if it is denied, Ford — unlike Fields, Martell and Robertson — will have to sit out a for a full season.
Even Georgia fans, who have nothing to gain from Ford’s decision, agree that he should’ve gotten his waiver.
Shortly after his decision was announced, a number of Georgia fans shared their outrage over the decision on social media.
— Matt Benson (@jasperdawgfan) April 24, 2019
This is so wrong. 😡
— Phillip Lynch (@phillip_plynch) April 24, 2019
I’m genuinely pissed off for him. He transfers home to be close to his I’ll grandfather and they transferred because they weren’t good enough to start. unbelievable
— Garrett (@garretthamby28) April 24, 2019
— Plume of Prometheus (@paul_da1uwant7) April 25, 2019
If the NCAA is not going to be fair about transfers, just stop allowing them. This is wrong on so many levels
— Beserktopdawg (@Beserktopdawg) April 24, 2019
There are some deeper levels to the Ford news as well. The NCAA has stated in the past that for players to transfer closer to home, the school must be within 100 miles of the player’s home and that the family member in question must be part of the nuclear family — meaning mom, dad or sibling.
But as Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports points out, there isn’t an FBS program within 100 miles of Ford’s Carterville, Il., home. And it’s worth mentioning that Robertson is from Savannah, Ga., which is 219 miles from the University of Georgia. Robertson did cite his mother’s health conditions as the reason for his own transfer.
And who is the NCAA to decide that a grandparent means less than any other member of a family? Grandparents — and Ford has said as much about his grandfather — often play a huge role in shaping people’s lives.
Once the immediate aftermath of the Ford decision settled, and Illinois announced it planned on appealing the decision, a number of commenters noted something else. Plenty of people came away impressed with how the Georgia fan base came to support Ford after the NCAA decision.
I hope #Illini fans have supported Brock Hoffman as well as #Georgia fans have supported Luke Ford. Georgia fans have to be some of the classiest people on social media. #GoDawgs #FreeLukeFord #FreeBrockHoffman
— Jordan Tepen (@JordanTepen) April 24, 2019
I always cheered for Georgia in bowl games before and this just solidifies that their fan base is top notch. Having said that, this is TERRIBLE! Martell and Fields are eligible and not Ford?! Oh bc we aren’t a National power and they can’t make them $$$$ @NCAA you’re the worst!
— Edward Gonzalez (@EddieCub08) April 24, 2019
The amount of support around the country for Luke Ford and his family, particularly by Georgia fans, has been nothing but first class. 👏#FreeLukeFord
— Aarman Sethi (@asethi03) April 18, 2019
Georgia fans shouldn’t need to bash the NCAA for the governing body to take notice of Ford’s situation. Illinois and Ford shouldn’t need to appeal this decision in the first place. The NCAA should’ve just granted Ford eligibility.
I understand that some worry about a transfer epidemic if everyone is granted immediate eligibility. But the time to worry about that should’ve been before Fields and Martell were granted eligibility at Ohio State and Miami, respectively. If you’re willing to let them play, you should do the same with Ford and Hoffman.
Most Georgia fans at this point don’t want a pat on the back for supporting Ford. They just want to see the NCAA do the right thing and grant Ford the right to play in the 2019 season.
Don’t say winning the spring game doesn’t matter
A number of people have pointed out how meaningless spring game results can be. No fan really cares all that much about the final score, just so long as no one gets hurt.
But an inside look from the Georgia Football Twitter account showed that the players do have something to play for: A great meal or an absolutely dreadful one.
The winning side, the Red team on G-Day which was led by the first-team offense, got to enjoy a wonderful meal comprised of steak, lobster, pasta and macaroni and cheese to name some of the options. It was a meal fit for kings.
But the losing side? Well, they got beans and weenies. I’m sure plenty of players considered passing on the meal.
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) April 23, 2019
It’s worth noting that the likes of Mark Webb and Eric Stokes took the losing meal in stride. But some members of the red team — like starting guard Solomon Kindley — seemed almost as thrilled to not be eating the beans and weenies as they were the steak and lobster.
As for what Kirby Smart was eating, he was shown going through the steak and lobster line. Smart is the closest thing to a king in the Georgia football program, so it only makes sense that he eats like one.