Fields announced his intent to transfer from Georgia in mid-December and enrolled in classes at Ohio State in January.

By Emily Caron
January 09, 2019

Former Georgia quarterback Justin Fields will ask the NCAA for immediate eligibility in hopes of playing for Ryan Day's Buckeyes in 2019, Thomas Mars, the attorney helping the freshman signal caller with his request, told ESPN Wednesday morning.

Fields would typically have to sit out a year after transferring, but Mars is optimistic that he can use a new NCAA transfer waiver guideline that was set forth last April to help Fields.

The former five-star recruit from Kennesaw, Ga., announced his decision to transfer to Ohio State last Friday. Fields enrolled in classes in Columbus, Ohio this week.

Fields came to Georgia as the No. 2 overall recruit in the class of 2018, according to 247Sports. He was ranked No. 1 overall, according to other outlets. The highly-touted QB played backup to sophomore Jake Fromm in 2018, which prompted him to enter the NCAA’s transfer portal in mid-December. 

Mars helped six former Ole Miss players, including Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson, secure waivers to play immediately after transferring last offseason as the Rebels served out their bowl ban for numerous NCAA violations in 2018. He told ESPN that Fields's argument will involve the same new NCAA transfer waiver guidelines that helped Patterson play for the Wolverines.

The new guidelines include a provision for undergraduate transfers and states that a player may not have to spend one year-in-residence before taking the field for their new team if "the transfer is due to documented mitigating circumstances that are outside the student-athlete’s control and directly impact the health, safety and well-being of the student-athlete."

Fields was the subject of a racist comment from Georgia baseball player Adam Sasser during Georgia's win over Tennessee on Sept. 29, and the freshman QB could make the case that Sasse's words are grounds for transfer without an eligibility penalty. The highly-touted recruit could cite the comments as his "mitigating circumstances." 

STAPLES: If Justin Fields Transfers from Georgia, There's a Path for Him to Play Elsewhere Immediately

Mars added that 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 told ESPN.

The NCAA has yet to comment on a potential ruling on Fields' waiver request. A case with the nuance and national implications of his would be nearly unprecedented, but Mars is optimistic that the process will move quickly for his client. 

"My prediction would be the next six weeks," Mars said.

The Buckeyes are expected to lose their starting quarterback, Dwayne Haskins Jr., to the draft. Ohio State's sophomore signal caller threw for 4,831 yards with 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 2018 during his first season as a starter.

Fields completed 27 of 39 passes during his freshman year, throwing for 328 yards and four touchdowns. He also added four rushing touchdowns. 

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