NCAA upholds denial of Illinois TE Ford's waiver

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IL sophomore tight end Luke Ford will not play this upcoming season after his appeal was denied by the NCAA Division I Appeals Committee for Legislative Relief on Friday.

Tom Mars, an attorney who helped the Ford family with its appeal, told ESPN's Adam Rittenberg requests for consideration and appeals of transfer waivers are like watching a football game in overtime, that it can be unpredictable and full of wishful thinking. Ford's initial waiver for immediate eligibility after transferring from Georgia this offseason was denied in late April.

"Luke Ford was the top-rated recruit in the state of IL his senior year and we worked very hard in developing a great relationship during his recruitment", Illini head coach Lovie Smith said in a statement about the transfer in January. "As Luke just said to me in a very grateful way, 'Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn't'".

Ford, the top-rated recruit in IL in the Class of 2018, transferred from Georgia in January, citing his grandfather's poor health and a hope to play closer to his family's home in downstate Carterville.

Oliver Martin Enters The Transfer Portal
Some fans get upset about transfers regardless of where the player might end up, but, at this point, it's just par for the course. That move would certainly rub some MI football fans the wrong way, however, he would have to sit out the entire 2019 season.

Carterville is about 190 miles south of Champaign.

Ford's father, Tim, said Friday that the family was disappointed with the news but added his son will stay focused.

IL appealed that denial, and was hoping because of family reasons, that Ford would be granted immediate eligibility. He will have three years of eligibility remaining once he takes the field for the Illini.

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