Mays, Langham, and Uneven Handling of NCAA

Greg Arias

Cade Mays is now eligible to play this season for the University of Tennessee after transferring from fellow SEC East division rival Georgia. His return to Knoxville, from where he starred as a high school player at Knoxville Catholic, was littered with controversy and even legal action.   

That announcement from the NCAA came late Thursday, adding the former five-star lineman to the Volunteers starting roster. 

Last season Malik Langham, a talented former four-star athlete, transferred from the University of Florida to Vanderbilt. He sat and waited for the NCAA to approve his transfer and allow him to participate immediately.  It never came, forcing him to sit out the entire 2019 season as NCAA transfer rules state. 

What was the difference between Mays and Langham? 

Some might say the color of their skin, but I'm not even going to go close to that because I don't think it's relevant, and I loath the use of that sword against people I don't know. It's shoddy and wrong, and I'm out on it.  

So what else could it be? 

That's a great question, and one I can't begin to answer. 

The long-standing opinion is that the NCAA plays favorites when it comes to transfers and penalties against individual schools and even conferences. While that could seem real, and there is even circumstantial evidence to support such allegations, there is no direct evidence of such preferential treatment.   

So then, what could it be? 

Maybe they use a dart board or one of those old Magi 8-Balls to make such rulings.

Whatever their method, this one one area where the NCAA needs an immediate reworking of their decision process to make this area fair and equitable for all, and not just some as some fans might believe. 

Granted, we will never fully know what all the reasons for either Mays or Langhams transfers, but we do know one sat out a season and the other will be allowed to play. 

One transfer occured without pending legal action, and that player sat out. The other comes with litigation and that player will see the field. 

The NCAA has talked of allowing a one-time transfer without restrictions on every player in all sports. Perhaps that ideas time has come. 

Either way, the NCAA has repeatedly been uneven when it comes to transfers and that has to change. 

Follow Greg on Twitter @GregAriasSports and @SIVanderbilt or Facebook at Vanderbilt Commodores-Maven.