Back in January when Cade Mays decided to transfer to the University Of Tennessee and back home to East Tennessee, the family hired prominent attorney Tom Mars to handle the waiver process. A veteran in the business of getting players eligible, dating back to previous cases involving former Ole Miss athletes and many others.
In my previous piece, Mars had outlined the time frame and how the process would work, not yet knowing that a vote could potentially take place on granting one time transfer waivers May 20. Unfortunately for some, that vote was pushed off until January 2021.
Now we sit here in July, with a few players being granted waivers by the NCAA and Tennessee fans wondering about the eligibility of potential starter Mays. So, I went straight to the source, Mars. This part might actually surprise some folks if they didn’t follow it closely.
Mars actually stopped representing Mays on May 8. “Because of my standby role with NCAA Enforcement as an Independent Advocate, I stopped taking new transfer waiver cases earlier this year and withdrew from the few cases I was involved in, which included the Cade Mays case. I explained the reason I felt a need to withdraw and told them they were in good hands with Tennessee compliance,” Mars said.
Mars added, “I noticed a lot of screeching on Twitter about why the NCAA hadn’t ruled on Cade’s waiver request. People don’t seem to understand that, if done properly, you don’t throw together a waiver request in a few days. What’s more, most schools I’d been working with were waiting to see whether the Legislative Council would pass the one-time transfer without penalty in May. As you know, that vote got bumped until January. I can tell you the waiver request hadn’t been submitted when I withdrew from the Cade Mays case.”
It might not have been the best timing in the world, but the NCAA was already knee deep in trying to figure out how transfers and even college football would work in 2020. Mars said of the timing, “The timing was strictly based on the inevitability of me being assigned a case that was referred to the new IARP process and not wanting to bail on pending waiver cases without my clients having enough time to retain substitute counsel.”
“My opinion about the merits of Cade’s waiver request never changed,” Mars said when asked about his opinion of the case. Back in January he said this when I asked about the chances Mays will get a waiver and be eligible for 2020 season “I’m very confident that Cade won’t have to sit out a year.”
These cases take time, but Mars has full faith in Tennessee’s compliance staff in getting the waiver “Andrew Donovan and Adam Tate at Tennessee compliance are among the best in the business on my one hand short list.”
So, as we all wait to see if college football is played in 2020, Mars is still very confident Mays will be a part of it if we do.