Decision on Justin Fields' eligibility at Ohio State expected by February
The Justin Fields saga came to an end when the former 5-star and Georgia quarterback announced via Twitter that he was leaving Athens and headed to Ohio State. It was a huge get for Ryan Day and the Buckeyes.
Fields’ commitment was just one-half of the puzzle, though. Now, Fields will have to appeal to the NCAA to try and earn immediate eligibility in Columbus. NCAA regulations typically require players to sit out a full season if they transfer between FBS programs.
However, Fields will make an appeal, citing a racial slur that was directed at him during a Georgia home game by a member of the university’s baseball team. From the Toledo Blade:
Fields was one of the highest-rated shortstop recruits in the country and is considered a professional baseball prospect. But he wasn’t comfortable joining the Georgia baseball team because of the slurs directed toward him, a source said.
Fields is being represented by Tom Mars, an Arkansas-based lawyer who has become somewhat famous for assisting student-athletes in NCAA waiver cases. He suspects that a decision will come sooner rather than later.
“Unlike the situation with the Ole Miss transfers, the process of obtaining a waiver for Justin isn’t going to drag on for months,” Mars told Kyle Rowland of the Toledo Blade. “This is a high priority for Coach [Ryan] Day, and it’s my top priority at the moment. I’m confident the process will move quickly and that the NCAA will be able to make a decision on OSU’s waiver request much sooner than most people might think.”
Earlier this week, Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins announced he would be leaving Columbus to pursue the NFL Draft. The loss of the B1G Offensive Player of the Year and Heisman finalists leaves a significant vacancy under center for the Buckeyes.
Many expect that, if eligible, Fields would be the successor to Haskins. He’ll likely be in a battle with Tate Martell through spring, who has played sparingly throughout his career in Columbus.