Former Georgia football lineman Cade Mays ruled eligible by the NCAA, awaiting SEC approval

Kyle Funderburk

Cade Mays might get to suit up for Tennessee against his former team in 2020 after all. 

The NCAA reversed its initial decision on Thursday to grant the former Georgia football offensive lineman his eligibility. However, there's still one more obstacle for Mays and Tennessee to cross; the SEC needs to grant Mays a waiver in order to play because he is transferring from one SEC school to another.

Mays was originally ruled ineligible by the NCAA in August, but the University of Tennessee quickly appealed the decision and submitted additional information. 

Part of the reason for Mays' transfer is an ongoing legal battle between Georgia and Mays' father Kevin Mays. The elder Mays lost part of his pinky finger in a folding chair while on a recruiting trip to Athens. Kevin Mays is also a former Tennessee football player and Cade Mays' brother Cooper joined the Volunteers in the 2020 recruiting class.

Offensive line coach Sam Pittman left Georgia after the 2019 regular season to take over as head coach at Arkansas. The coaching change may have played a role in Mays' decision to leave Athens.

Mays announced his decision to transfer after Georgia's victory over Baylor in the Sugar Bowl. His decision was a huge surprise because he was one of the stars on the Bulldogs' offensive line. Mays appeared in 25 games in two seasons and he started 18 games. He earned Freshman All-American honors in 2018 and enters his junior season as preseason All-SEC and All-American. 

Losing Mays delivered a huge blow to Georgia's 2020 offensive line, especially with three other starters choosing to enter the NFL Draft. The departures put the line into rebuild-mode with new coach Matt Luke. Ben Cleveland, who shared playing time at right guard with Mays in 2019, assumes the starting role heading into 2020.

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Comments (2)
No. 1-1
Kyle Funderburk
Kyle Funderburk

Not surprising to see the NCAA grant the waiver. They're going start granting immediate eligibility to first-time transfers anyway, why continue archaic rulings until then?

1 Reply

Brooks Austin
Brooks Austin


Agreed. But Georgia fans won’t haha