Three Thoughts On Raheem Blackshear's Waiver Request Being Denied

By: Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP | Aug 15, 2020
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics

Virginia Tech received some surprising news this week as Justin Fuente announced yesterday that Raheem Blackshear had his waiver request for immediate eligibility denied.

Unsurprisingly, Fuente said that he, Blackshear, and Tech as a whole were "shocked and saddened" by the decision, but do intend to appeal the shocking denial.

This is now the third immediate eligibility waiver that Tech has had denied after Brock Hoffman and Braxton Burmeister last year with the Hoffman decision being the definition of insanity. The Burmeister one made some sense except for how multiple Power 5 QBs like Tate Martell (Ohio State to Miami) and most recently Joey Yellen (Arizona State to Pittsburgh), moving farther away from home without a coaching change and yet receiving immediate eligibility.

So with all of that said, here are my three thoughts on the latest shocking waiver denial for a transfer at Virginia Tech.

1. Virginia Tech Has a Strong Appeal Case

While it's shocking that Blackshear's waiver was denied, Virginia Tech should have an extremely strong case especially given that Blackshear is transferring from a Rutgers program that just changed coaches this offseason from Chris Ash to Greg Schiano.

Additionally, Blackshear entered the transfer portal after Ash was fired not before he was let go. To think that the coaching change wasn't a factor in his decision, especially since Blackshear had already decided to redshirt after playing four games earlier that season, seemingly a commitment to a better 2021 season for Rutgers, is crazy.

We've also seen players transferring after coaching changes receive a waiver at an extremely consistent rate, one of the few things other than the inconsistency that may be consistent about the NCAA's decisions.

Virginia Tech is right to believe that Blackshear has a great chance at winning his appeal. However, Tech better be ready with a strong case to back it up that is well-reserached especially after Brock Hoffman's appeal was also denied last year.

If there is a piece of bad news with this, it's that the timeline for actually getting the appeal successfully through may not be enough to have Blackshear on the field at the start of the season, especially with an NCAA notorious for being slow in processing these things that is also struggling with how to handle pandemic-related issues.

2. Transfer Policy Should Change

The NCAA has been consistently inconsistent when it comes to their immediate eligibility waiver approvals and denials. There has been a proposal thrown out that would permanently solve this and prevent us from having to have these discussions.

Any first-time transfer should be able to receive immediate eligibility.

As mentioned above, this would only apply to football players who are transferring for the first time. There's no reason why players who aren't comfortable at a school shouldn't be able to transfer and be immediate eligible. Yes, that would also allow football players who want a bigger opportunity to transfer up, but why shouldn't they be able to do that when athletes in most other sports are already able to do that.

Clearing this up would have allowed guys like Brock Hoffman and Illinois TE Luke Ford to receive the immediate eligibility they deseved without having to reveal personal information about their family situations for the sake of landing a waiver that wouldn't be granted.

Yes, Blackshear's situation is different, but there's no reason why football players shouldn't be able to transfer once and be immediately eligibility just as most NCAA athletes in other sports already are.

3. Tech Should Get Some Outside Evaluation

At some point, you have to look and make sure that your approach to these waivers are working. See one denial can be seen as a fluke, but multiple denials is a trend that deserves some evaluation.

That evaluation shouldn't just come from inside Virginia Tech, but the Tech compliance department should bring in an outside consultant to evaluate the cases and give Tech a better strategy going forward.

Of course, a review could (and likely would) find that Tech simply has run into an NCAA that makes waiver decisions with a maddening inconsistentcy that would make flip-flopping politicians jealous.

However, given the trend that has developed over the past two years, Tech would be wise to at least bring in an outside consultant just to make sure they aren't making a misstep or two that could be the difference between approval or denial. Doing something like that could also help prevent some negative recruiting in the transfer portal that may come from these three waivers denials in two seasons.

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