NCAA Denies FSU Football Player's Waiver Appeal Despite Bipartisan Effort

NCAA Denies FSU Football Player's Waiver Appeal Despite Bipartisan Effort

Jackson Bakich
Jackson Bakich
September 13, 2023

After a bipartisan effort at almost all levels of Florida government, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) President Charlie Baker has denied Florida State University football player Darrell Jackson Jr.’s immediate transfer waiver. The FSU student-athlete must now sit out a year in order to be eligible to play.

In August, 12 U.S. Representatives on both sides of the aisle from the state of Florida sent a letter to President Baker, urging him to take another look at Jackson Jr.’s waiver. They stated that the NCAA’s ruling was “contradictory to its own mission statement.”

“According to the homepage of its website, the NCAA is ‘dedicated to the well-being and lifelong success of college athletes.’ We express concern that during a time of unprecedented change in college sports that the organization charged with the well being and lifelong success of college athletes would provide a ruling that is self-evidently contradictory to its own mission statement. We echo Senator Rubio’s recent letter that this decision sends the wrong message to our student athletes who choose to put family first when dealing with the health crisis of a loved one,” wrote the Democrat and Republican lawmakers.

The representatives concluded, “We therefore urge that you reconsider Darrell’s hardship waiver, and we respectfully look forward to your prompt response.”

The letter was signed by Representatives Mike Waltz (R-FL), Neal Dunn (R-FL), Cory Mills (R-FL), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), Laurel Lee (R-FL), Kat Cammack (R-FL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Daniel Webster (R-FL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Jared Moskowitz (D-FL), and Byron Donalds (R-FL).

In late 2022, Darrell Jackson Jr. transferred from the University of Miami to Florida State to play for the Seminoles. At first glance, most would think it was a surprising move, as Miami and Florida State are fierce in-state rivals. However, once the public heard the reasoning for his transfer, it seemed as though everyone understood his rationale.

Darrell Jackson Jr. grew up in Havana, Florida, less than half an hour from Tallahassee. He originally began his collegiate career at the University of Maryland but then transferred to Miami in 2022.

However, once his mom fell ill with an undisclosed medical condition, Jackson Jr. made the switch to play at FSU to be closer to his mom.

In March, the NCAA changed its parameters regarding transfers to rein in the massive number of student-athletes switching schools yearly. Keep in mind, at the time of Jackson Jr.’s transfer, it was thought that he would be able to play immediately.

Shockingly (to some), the NCAA has decided to retroactively enact the rule change and not award the hardship waiver.

President Baker made it official in his letter responding to Florida’s U.S. Representatives, saying, “waivers are only available in very limited circumstances,” while maintaining that “being close to family is important.”

“The council voted to specify the criteria for a waiver for undergraduate students who do not meet the requirements to use the one-time transfer exception. Consistent with the council vote, waivers are only available in very limited circumstances, such as when a student-athlete demonstrates and adequately documents a need for medical or safety reasons to depart the previous school,” wrote Baker.

The NCAA President went on to mention, “That said, being close to family is important, and these decisions can be stressful.”

Representative Neal Dunn (R-FL) called out President Baker, saying the NCAA’s decision was “extremely disappointing.”

“The reply from NCAA Pres. Charlie Baker is extremely disappointing. I stand by what I previously stated – Darrell Jackson, Jr.’s [sic] deserves support, NOT punishment for putting his family first. Come on, NCAA!”

Despite Jackson Jr.’s absence, the Florida State Seminoles sit at no. 3 in the AP Poll after impressive victories over then-no. 5 LSU and Southern Mississippi.

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Jackson Bakich

Jackson Bakich

Born in Orlando but raised in Lake County, Florida, Jackson Bakich is currently a senior at Florida State University. Growing up in the sunshine state, Bakich co-hosted the political talk radio show "Lake County Roundtable" (WLBE) and was a frequent guest for "Lake County Sports Show" (WQBQ). Currently, he is the Sports Editor of the FSView and the co-host of "Tomahawk Talk" (WVFS), a sports talk radio program covering Florida State athletics in Tallahassee.

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