The waiver requests for immediate eligibility from Georgia Tech football players Antonneous Clayton and Myles Sims have been denied by the NCAA, a person familiar with the situation told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday. Georgia Tech plans to pursue appeals to challenge the NCAA’s decisions on both.
Sims, a cornerback from Westlake High, transferred from Michigan after one season in which he redshirted. Clayton, a defensive end from Dooly County High, transferred from Florida after playing two seasons and redshirting one. The NCAA’s decision is particularly difficult for Clayton. If Tech’s appeal is denied, then Clayton will have to sit out one year and have only one year of eligibility remaining, in the 2020 season.
From a competitive standpoint, not having Clayton would be a particular setback for the Yellow Jackets in coach Geoff Collins’ first season. Tech is in need of help with its pass rush on the defensive line, and Clayton was a forceful presence in drills in the preseason.
“Don’t be mad at the NCAA,” Clayton wrote in a message posted from his Twitter account. “They have a job to do.”
Being denied, he said, wouldn’t stop him from getting his degree, “being an amazing father to my son and being an unbelievable player for my teammates and coaches.” He also asked fans to stick with him through the appeals process.
Sims would have three years of eligibility left after sitting out the 2019 season. Tech is more settled at corner than defensive end.
Tech is still waiting to hear on the waiver request for wide receiver Marquez Ezzard, who transferred from Miami after redshirting his first season there. Ezzard is a Stockbridge High graduate.
The outcomes for Clayton and Sims may have been the result of waiver guidelines that were adjusted after both had made decisions to transfer. In June of this year — Clayton decided to transfer in April, Sims in May — the NCAA changed its language on its guidelines for granting waivers.
Where previously the guidelines required that student-athletes had “documented, mitigating circumstances” in transferring in order to get a waiver, the change in June appeared to raise the bar. By those guidelines, waivers would be granted when athletes were transferring “due to documented extenuating, extraordinary and mitigating circumstances outside of the student-athlete’s control.”
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