The NCAA has denied Virginia Tech offensive lineman Brock Hoffman’s appeal for an immediate eligibility waiver.
Hoffman transferred to Virginia Tech from Coastal Carolina back in February and requested a waiver to play right away for the Hokies in 2019. Hoffman, who transferred to be closer to his ill mother, then announced in April that the waiver was denied. Hoffman said the NCAA denied his waiver because Virginia Tech is more than 100 miles away from his home and because the condition of his mother, who had a brain tumor removed, had improved.
From there, Hoffman filed for an appeal. Virginia Tech announced Tuesday that it had been denied by the NCAA.
“While extremely disappointed in this final decision by the NCAA, Virginia Tech Athletics and the football staff will continue to provide our unwavering support and compassion to Brock and his family,” Virginia Tech Athletics said in a release.
“The Hoffman family resides in Statesville, North Carolina. The family's proximity to Blacksburg is critical for Brock, who continues to play a key role in caring for his mother, Stephanie, who was diagnosed with acoustic neuroma — a significant non-cancerous brain tumor in December 2017.”
NCAA rules for immediate eligibility waivers
The NCAA has changed the way it handles immediate eligibility cases multiple times in recent years, including once again in June. One qualification the NCAA requires for immediate eligibility in hardship cases is the 100-mile radius rule, which requires the player’s new school to be within 100 miles of the player’s immediate family member who is dealing with an injury or illness.
Like Hoffman, Illinois tight end Luke Ford also had his waiver and appeal denied by the NCAA. Ford, the top tight end recruit in the 2018 class, transferred from Georgia to Illinois in order to be closer to his grandfather. In a press release, Illinois said the NCAA’s appeal decision was “based on guidelines” used during the original waiver decision.
According to multiple outlets, Ford’s initial waiver was turned down because Illinois’ campus in Champaign is more than 100 miles from Ford’s hometown of Cartersville, Illinois (there are no D-I schools within 100 miles of Cartersville), and Ford’s grandfather is not a member of his “nuclear” family.
Back in April, Hoffman said Virginia Tech is “five miles outside the 100-mile radius” from his house. This week, the Hoffman family went into detail with the Roanoke Times about the behind the scenes effort to get their son eligible. It does not paint the NCAA in a positive light.
At one point, according to Brock’s father, Brian, the NCAA asked why Stephanie Hoffman’s illness had not resulted in her retirement. He explained that the family was facing “almost a million dollars of medical bills.”
The NCAA surprised Brian Hoffman again when they came back with another line of questioning — why didn’t Stephanie Hoffman, 50, retire (after her diagnosis and surgery) from her job as a teacher?
“We have almost a million dollars of medical bills,” Brian Hoffman said. “She’s a teacher and doesn’t have enough years to get full pay from her pension. We simply couldn’t afford it.”
According to Hoffman, he provided the NCAA with financial and insurance statements to show if she retired at the time of her first surgery it would have negatively impacted the family.
“I really thought after all the information we gave them — we gave them a book over the summer — we had this thing,” Brian Hoffman said. “It was like getting stabbed in the back.”
Hoffman takes shot at NCAA
On Tuesday, Hoffman thanked those who spoke out about his case.
“We did what we could but I was informed today that my appeal has been denied and that I will have to sit out the 2019 season. I will redshirt this season and have two years left after to play at VT,” Hoffman wrote.
“I know it will be a long journey until the 2020 season but I’m willing to take it to achieve greatness. The goal now is to continue developing my body, perfecting my craft and being a leader for my teammates. I will NOT let this bring me down!”
Hoffman also included the infamous photo of Brian Bosworth wearing a shirt with the following acronym for the NCAA: National Communists Against Athletes.
Hoffman started all 12 games at Coastal Carolina in 2017 as a center and then moved to right guard for the 2018 season. After sitting out in 2019, he will have two seasons to suit up for the Hokies.
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