The Knoxville lawyer representing Tennessee football offensive lineman Cade Mays said he’s optimistic that Mays will win his appeal for an NCAA transfer waiver.
Getting Mays, who transferred to Tennessee from Georgia in January, cleared to play this year would boost the Vols’ offensive line, which is projected to be a team strength.
The NCAA denied Mays’ initial bid for a transfer waiver, and Tennessee is appealing the decision.
“We’re surprised and disappointed it was denied,” Gregory P. Isaacs, Mays’ lawyer, told Knox News. “The mandate of the NCAA is to ensure the well-being and the future success of student-athletes. Cade Mays clearly meets these criteria.”
Isaacs did not represent Mays during his initial waiver bid. He is representing him during his appeal.
“Because of a variety of factors, it was a toxic environment that did not support Cade Mays’ well-being as a student-athlete,” Isaacs said of Mays’ experience at Georgia and his bid for a waiver.
NCAA transfer rules require an undergraduate transfer in football to sit out a season unless that player receives a waiver. As an intraconference transfer, Mays also requires a waiver from the SEC.
The 6-foot-6, 328-pound Mays started 18 games during his two seasons at Georgia, where he took snaps at all five offensive line positions.
The initial waiver rejection leaves the Vols’ offensive line in limbo. If Mays wins the appeal, he would become a projected starter for what should be a robust offensive line – with or without Mays. A junior, Mays would redshirt if he does not receive a waiver.
Tennessee has experience appealing a waiver denial.
The basketball team’s Uros Plavsic, a transfer from Arizona State, had his waiver bid denied before last season. His initial appeal also was denied before he won a second appeal in January. That granted him eligibility for the second half of the season and completed a process that spanned several months.
Mays was a five-star recruit coming out of Knoxville Catholic. He committed to Tennessee while Butch Jones was UT’s coach before decommitting and signing with the Bulldogs.
Mays’ father, Kevin, is a former first-team All-SEC offensive guard for Tennessee. Mays’ younger brother, Cooper, is a freshman offensive lineman for the Vols.
Mays’ father is suing Georgia after his right pinkie finger got caught in a folding chair and was severed during Cade’s 2017 recruiting trip to Athens.
Mays is viewed as having high NFL Draft stock. Regardless of whether he plays this season, he would be eligible to declare early for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Blake Toppmeyer covers University of Tennessee football. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @btoppmeyer. If you enjoy Blake’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it. Current subscribers can click here to join Blake’s subscriber-only text group offering updates and analysis on Vols football.