Georgia Tech not likely to seek transfer waiver for Jordan Usher

Georgia Tech forward Jordan Usher (center, in navy sweats) impressed strength and conditioning coach Dan Taylor with his eagerness to support his teammates in the first game after he transferred from USC, against Virginia Tech at McCamish Pavilion on January 9, 2019. (Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)
Georgia Tech forward Jordan Usher (center, in navy sweats) impressed strength and conditioning coach Dan Taylor with his eagerness to support his teammates in the first game after he transferred from USC, against Virginia Tech at McCamish Pavilion on January 9, 2019. (Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)

Georgia Tech does not plan to seek an immediate-eligibility waiver for guard Jordan Usher, who transferred to Tech in January from USC. There had been hope that Usher, a Wheeler High grad, could receive a waiver from the NCAA that would permit him to bypass the standard one-year requirement for transfers and start play at the beginning of the season.

However, Tech has not and doesn’t plan to process a waiver, coach Josh Pastner told the AJC Saturday. He will be eligible to play at the end of the fall semester and have 1-1/2 seasons to play. The decision comes in the wake of new NCAA guidelines that appear to have raised the bar on requirements for receiving a waiver.

“Nothing negative,” Pastner said. “He’s going to have to sit the year in residence per the standard rule.”

Last season, Usher played in 12 games for USC before leaving the team in the middle of his sophomore year. He averaged 24.5 minutes, 8.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Pastner said that Usher has been “playing at a high level” in practices as Tech prepares for an exhibition tour of Spain. Usher will be able to play with the team in Spain, where the Jackets will play four games. The team leaves this coming Thursday.

“He’ll play a lot of games with us, and when he gets eligible, he’s going to give us a great lift and jolt of energy and he’s going to help us win games,” Pastner said. “In the short term, before he’s able to play, other guys will have to step up, which they will.”

The fall term ends Dec. 14. Tech plays six games before then, including the season opener against N.C. State, and plays its seventh game on the 14th at Kentucky. Pastner said that, as the grade submission deadline is December 16, he is anticipating Usher's first game being the Dec. 18 against Ball State at McCamish Pavilion.

In June, the NCAA approved adjustments to the guidelines that are used to determine whether immediate-eligibility waivers are granted. While the NCAA said that the changes were intended to provide clarity to the process, they also appeared to raise the bar on requirements for waivers.

The guidelines read that schools “must demonstrate that the student-athlete’s transfer is due to documented extenuating, extraordinary and mitigating circumstances outside of the student-athlete’s control that directly impacts the health, safety or well-being of the student-athlete.” Previously, the guidelines  required “documented, mitigating circumstances,” a standard that led to an increase in waiver requests.

Usher told the AJC in April that he transferred because he wanted to be closer to home, a reason that may not meet the new guidelines required by the NCAA.

Pastner said that Tech guard Bubba Parham, who transferred from VMI in April, is pursuing a waiver.

In Other News