STATESVILLE, N.C. — A few years ago, the NCAA relaxed its transfer rules, allowing players immediate eligibility for things like a coach leaving.
But even this year quarterbacks Tate Martell and Justin Fields left to gain starting jobs elsewhere and were approved.
That's why Statesville's Brock Hoffman was shocked when his request was denied.
“I don't think I said anything for 30 seconds to a minute there,” Hoffman told NBC Charlotte. “I was in shock. I was completely blindsided. My mom was in tears a little bit.”
Hoffman played his first two years at Coastal Carolina. But during that time his mom had to have a brain tumor removed. She is still suffering from after effects.
“She has facial paralysis, hearing loss, eyesight issues,” said Hoffman. “They say those certain things were going to take years, and may never be the same.”
Hoffman wanted to be closer to his mom and help out so he transferred to Virginia Tech, much closer to Statesville than Coastal Carolina. Thinking he was doing the right thing by the NCAA, he sought a family medical hardship waiver.
“It's why we're doing this,” Hoffman said. “Just being that much closer allows me to make trips home on the weekends. Being there, around my family, helping her with transportation to her appointments helps a lot, too.”
But on Tuesday, Hoffman got the news that the NCAA denied his request for two reasons:
- His home is 105 miles away from Blacksburg, five miles outside the 100-mile radius the NCAA requires for such waivers.
- The NCAA said his mom's health has improved, despite countless medical records and letters from doctors submitted by Hoffman's family that said she still needs assistance.
“Everyone thought it was going to be an open and shut case when you look at all the documentation we submitted,” Hoffman said.
Devastated by the denial, Hoffman took to Twitter Tuesday and received an outpouring of support, even from big names like ESPN analyst Jay Bilas.
“It's pretty cool to see that everyone is supporting me and my family,” Hoffman said, “and I think that made my family feel a lot better about it too.”
Hoffman will get his one chance at an appeal next week. The NCAA has not responded to NBC Charlotte’s request for comment.