Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields plans to ask the NCAA for immediate eligibility and hopes to have an answer on his 2019 future in the next six weeks, according to the attorney helping him with the request.
Fields enrolled at Ohio State this week after spending his first season of college football at Georgia. The No. 2 overall prospect in the 2018 recruiting class played in a back-up role in all but one game before announcing his plans to leave the Bulldogs’ program in December.
Thomas Mars, an attorney who helped six former Ole Miss players secure waivers to play immediately after transferring in 2018, is helping Fields and Ohio State put together an argument that would allow him to skip the required one-year waiting period after a transfer. Mars said he’s optimistic that the process will move quicker than it did for the Ole Miss players last year.
“My prediction would be the next six weeks,” Mars said.
Mars helped Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson, among several others, with the same process in part by citing the NCAA’s rule that allows players to transfer without penalty if there is documented evidence of “egregious behavior” at their former university that negatively impacted the athlete.
Speculation about Fields’ case for the waiver has centered around an incident last September when a member of the school’s baseball team referred to Fields repeatedly with a racial slur during one of Georgia’s home football games. The baseball player was dismissed from the team and the school made public statements addressing the issue.
Mars said the September incident is not the only issue Fields plans to raise in his waiver request.
“Nobody who’s on social media would have a problem with Justin getting a waiver if they knew the whole story,” Mars said Wednesday morning.
Fields passed for four touchdowns and 328 yards in his limited playing time during his freshman season. A February decision would allow Ohio State to know Fields’ availability prior to opening spring practice, where he’s expected to compete for the Buckeyes’ starting job with redshirt sophomore Tate Martell.