Tennessee received some massive news on Wednesday night, learning that Cade Mays had become immediately eligible to play. The NCAA cleared Mays to play, but the SEC had yet to do so. That changed tonight.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey approved a number of waivers, citing the unique circumstances that the COVID-19 pandemic has provided. One of which being that eligibility is frozen, so it never really made any sense not to let the transfers play.
Sankey released the following statement.
It must be stated unequivocally that these approvals are solely a reflection of the unique circumstances present and should not be interpreted as endorsement of the rationale set forth by individuals seeking these waivers. These are unprecedented times in which decisions about eligibility and competitive opportunities demand consideration of the current challenges facing our student-athletes and schools as a result of COVID-19.
In a non-COVID environment there may have been a different outcome for some of the waiver requests determined today.
Our member institutions have been clear in the past that they oppose immediate eligibility for intraconference transfers. Given the increased number of waiver requests this year, and a changing national landscape related to student-athlete transfer issues, it is evident that the current transfer bylaw must undergo a thorough review by Conference membership in the most timely manner possible and prior to the 2021-22 academic year.
Mays is a former five-star prospect who spent his first two seasons at Georgia. The Knoxville native was a longtime Tennessee commit, but chose to join the Bulldogs through the 2017 coaching change. Now a junior, Mays is finally home.
He will likely slide directly into the starting lineup for the Vols, beefing up what is already a nasty offensive line. Mays is the fourth former five-star prospect on Tennessee’s offensive line, which now has no excuse to go dominate the line of scrimmage this fall.
Now the next question becomes, where does Cade play? Pruitt mentioned that he had been working multiple positions on the offensive line, so it will be interesting to see where he lands.