September 3, 2015 Atlanta - Georgia Tech players run on to the field before the start of the Georgia Tech season opener against the Alcorn State Braves in Bobby Dodd Stadium on Thursday, September 3, 2015. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC/hshin@ajc.com
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC/hshin@ajc.com

Tech lineman Jack DeFoor receives immediate eligibility from NCAA

Georgia Tech offensive lineman Jack DeFoor, who transferred from Ole Miss after the fall semester, was granted immediately eligibility Thursday by the NCAA, according to DeFoor’s attorney, Thomas Mars. A Tech spokesman confirmed the NCAA’s decision.

Ole Miss’ compliance office worked together with Tech compliance officials to secure the waiver from the NCAA, according to an Ole Miss spokesman.

DeFoor will be eligible to play this fall and will have three years of eligibility remaining.

DeFoor, from Calhoun, initially sought a waiver for immediate eligibility on the grounds that he had been misled about the potential severity of Ole Miss’ NCAA sanctions during his recruitment.

It is welcome news for DeFoor, who redshirted his first year at Ole Miss and thus might only have a total of three years of competition if he hadn’t received a waiver, as he would have had to sit out an additional season. It is similarly a boost for his team, which lost offensive tackle Jake Stickler after he was medically disqualified for undisclosed reasons. Tech is in need of depth at offensive tackle, and DeFoor is a prime candidate to join a tackle rotation. DeFoor took part in spring practice and played for the White team (second-string offense) in the spring game.

DeFoor was one of six former Ole Miss players who sought immediate eligibility waivers, most notably quarterback Shea Patterson, who transferred to Michigan. In Patterson’s case, Ole Miss initially reportedly denied the allegations of misleading recruits, but the school’s attitude changed with the NCAA altering its policy on transfer waivers in April.

Up to that point, Patterson and Mars were seeking a waiver through an NCAA rule permitting immediate eligibility in cases of “egregious behavior” at the original school.

According to the new NCAA rule, immediate eligibility could be granted if the athlete was transferring “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.”

Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork told SI.com that “as soon as we saw that, we called Michigan.” According to the story by Andy Staples, Ole Miss was wiling to rescind its objection and not stand in Patterson’s way if he likewise withdrew his allegations of egregious behavior.

By so doing, the schools worked together to gain Patterson’s immediate-eligibility waiver in April.

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