BLACKSBURG — The NCAA Division I Board of Directors has come out against making changes to the transfer waiver process at this time.
The Transfer Waiver Working Group recommended a one-time transfer waiver in the five sports (men’s basketball, women’s basketball baseball, men’s ice hockey and football) that don’t allow for immediate eligibility earlier this year. The Division I Council is still expected to vote on the proposal this month, but the Board of Directors’ guidance could delay any change for the 2020-21 academic year.
“The board agreed to lift the moratorium on transfer legislation for the 2020-21 legislative cycle but recommended to the Council that changes to the waiver process as suggested by the working group are not appropriate at this time,” the NCAA’s statement said. “Board members recommended the waiver process be sensitive to student-athlete well-being, especially those impacted by COVID-19 in the interim period.”
That would mean Virginia Tech running back Raheem Blackshear will have to go through the same waiver process Brock Hoffman and Braxton Burmeister went through last year. The Hokies were 0 for 2 in 2019 with Hoffman’s case getting national attention.
Hoffman transferred to Virginia Tech after his sophomore year to help care for his mother in Statesville, North Carolina. She had surgery to remove an acoustic neuroma (a non-cancerous brain tumor) in early 2017 and was still suffering from facial paralysis, hearing loss and impaired eyesight.
The five-month process ended with the NCAA handing down a decision on Hoffman’s final waiver appeal just days before the team’s season-opener against Boston College. Hoffman’s father detailed the “horrible process” the family went through at the time to The Roanoke Times.
“I really thought after all the information we gave them — we gave them a book over the summer — we had this thing,” Brian Hoffman said. “It was like getting stabbed in the back.”
“He’s a kid who did not quit on his football team,” Fuente said last year. “He did not leave them in the middle of the year. He did not leave them right at the beginning of the year when some people have. In my estimation he went about this thing the right way and was penalized for it. I think that’s unfortunate.”
Blackshear, who enrolled at Tech in January, likely faces an uphill battle without the one-time transfer rule. Virginia Tech was still gathering the paperwork for the Rutgers transfer in mid-April and had yet to submit his waiver.
“The NCAA,” Fuente said in a recent interview before a lengthy pause. “We are still in the process of putting that all together. I don’t know if they are hearing those things or not. It takes a little bit to get together and it’s probably slowed down a little bit since he’s not here.”
Blackshear played in 27 games with the Scarlet Knights (14 starts) contributing as a running back, slot receiver and kick returner. He had 2,239 career all-purpose yards for the Scarlet Knights.
Tech hopes he can have a similar role in Blacksburg, but Fuente wouldn’t speculate on the program's chances with the NCAA’s waiver process this year.
“I would say just about anything is possible right now,” Fuente said.