Virginia Tech transfer who says he changed schools due to mother’s tumor has eligibility appeal denied by NCAA

A general view outside of Lane Stadium. (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Virginia Tech Athletics was notified Tuesday that Brock Hoffman's appeal for immediate eligibility had been denied by the NCAA.

Hoffman announced in February that he intended to transfer from Coastal Carolina where he served as a two-year starter on the offensive line for the Chanticleers, playing both guard and center.

"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," Tech said in a statement.

The Hoffman family resides in Statesville, N.C. Per Tech, 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.

A general view of Lane Stadium. (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)

According to 247Sports, Hoffman, who started his career at Coastal Carolina, had to submit a waiver to avoid sitting out a year after transferring from one division one institute to another prior to graduation. Due to a family illness, Hoffman petitioned the NCAA to allow him to move closer to home. Virginia Tech is roughly 75 miles closer to his hometown of Statesville, North Carolina than his former school, Coastal Carolina.

NCAA.com's transfer terms state if a student-athlete transfers from a four-year school, he/she may be immediately eligible to compete at a new school if he/she meets ALL the following conditions:

You are transferring to a Division II or III school, or you are transferring to a Division I school in any sport other than baseball, men's or women's basketball, football (Football Bowl Subdivision) or men’s ice hockey. If you are transferring to a Division I school for any of the previously-listed sports, you may be eligible to compete immediately if you were not recruited by your original school and you have never received an athletics scholarship.

You are academically and athletically eligible at your previous four-year school.

You receive a transfer-release agreement from your previous four-year school.

The NCAA defines a waiver as "an action that sets aside an NCAA rule because a specific, extraordinary circumstance prevents you from meeting the rule". An NCAA school may file a waiver on the student-athlete's behalf; he/she cannot file a waiver for themselves. The school does not administer the waiver, the conference office or NCAA does.

In June, the NCAA Division I Council made clarifications of transfer waiver guidelines to help members understand what specific information to submit with waiver requests. No transfer rules changed according to the NCAA. Here's the wording of those clarifications:

In cases where a student-athlete transfers because of the recent injury or illness of an immediate family member, the new school must provide contemporaneous medical documentation from the treating physician showing how the family member is debilitated; an explanation of the student-athlete’s role in providing care; confirmation from both the athletics director and faculty athletics representative that the student-athlete will be allowed to depart the team to provide care; a statement from the previous school’s athletics director explaining why the student-athlete said he or she was transferring; and proof that the student-athlete is in good academic standing and meeting progress-toward degree at the new school. The transfer must occur within or immediately after the academic year after learning of the injury or illness, and the guideline requires the new school be within 100 miles of the immediate family member.

Previously in such cases, the new school had to provide written documentation from the family member’s treating professional; contemporaneous medical documentation showing how the family member was debilitated; an explanation of the student-athlete’s need to transfer; and confirmation from the athletics director and faculty athletics representative that the student-athlete would be allowed to depart the team in order to provide care for the family member.

Hoffman plans to pursue a degree in Communication Studies at Virginia Tech with a minor in Computer Science. An early enrollee at Coastal Carolina in January 2017, he posted a 4.0 GPA during the spring and fall semesters in 2018. He received the Sun Belt Conference Commissioner's List recognition for posting at least a 3.5 GPA for the 2017-18 academic year.

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