Patronis Threatens Legal Action should NCAA not Grant FSU Football Player Eligibility

Patronis Threatens Legal Action should NCAA not Grant FSU Football Player Eligibility

Jackson Bakich
Jackson Bakich
October 6, 2023

After a bipartisan effort at almost all levels of Florida government last month, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) President Charlie Baker denied Florida State University football player Darrell Jackson Jr.’s immediate transfer waiver. Just a few days ago, it was announced that he would be able to play in the postseason. However, recent developments - and leader's reactions to those developments (such as Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis) could change everything.

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.

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 development in this story, however, comes from the state of North Carolina.

The University of North Carolina found themselves in a similar situation this year. Their transfer wide receiver Tez Walker was denied the ability to play this season.

After the appellate process failed to produce the right decision, UNC (in the same fashion as FSU) went to their state and federal lawmakers, exhausting all their options.

The NCAA reversed course on its decision regarding Tez Walker after receiving a letter from North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein (D-NC).

Within that letter, AG Stein argued that the NCAA’s original decision “raises serious antitrust concerns as an illegal restraint of trade.”

What does this mean for FSU’s Jackson Jr.? Will it take a letter from Attorney General Ashley Moody (R-FL) threatening “antitrust issues” as well?

Leaders from the State of Florida called out the NCAA, some even threatening legal action.

“The NCAA are a bunch of out-of-touch hypocrites. NC threatens antitrust allegations and they punted to save face on their terrible decision. FSU’s Darrell Jackson must play NOW. We’ll take legal action soon if they don’t reverse course,” stated Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis.

Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL) added that the NCAA cannot expect people to “overlook the double standard.”

“Since the NCAA is overturning decisions, Darrell Jackson of FSU Football better be next! You can’t give a player special treatment & expect us all to overlook the double standard. #LetDarrellPlay,” wrote Rep. Dunn.

Florida State takes on the Virginia Tech Hokies on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Tallahassee.

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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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