The NCAA has decided to stick to its guns when it comes to Luke Ford’s eligibility for the 2019 season.
Illinois’ football program announced on Friday that Ford, who transferred to Illinois from Georgia after the 2018 season, will not be eligible for the 2019 season. The NCAA has decided to uphold its ruling on the tight end, denying him immediate eligibility following his transfer.
Ford’s waiver was initially denied by the NCAA because his grandparents are not considered “nuclear” family members and he did not transfer within a 100-mile radius of his hometown. Attorney Tom Mars — who’s had plenty of success with the NCAA — took on Ford’s case hoping to win an appeal that would grant him immediate eligibility.
Unfortunately, Ford lost the appeal and will not be eligible to return to the field until 2020.
“No further appeal is available, and the decision is final and binding,” Illinois said in a statement.
Ford spent just one season at Georgia before transferring. He was expected to compete for the starting job at tight end for the Bulldogs this fall, but decided to transfer closer to home to be near grandparents with health concerns, as well as allowing his family come see him play.
The situation has to be particularly frustrating for the Illini considering Ford’s former teammate, quarterback Justin Fields, was granted immediate eligibility at Ohio State.
Ford will have three years of eligibility remaining.