The NCAA denied a medical hardship waiver request made by Virginia Tech offensive line transfer Brock Hoffman on Tuesday, meaning he is not eligible to play in 2019.
According to Mike Niziolek of the Roanoke Times, Hoffman applied for the waiver in March when he transferred from Coastal Carolina to Virginia Tech to be closer to his mother, who is suffering from "facial paralysis, hearing loss and impaired eyesight" after she underwent surgery to have a non-cancerous brain tumor removed in 2017.
Hoffman had no doubt that he would be eligible to play immediately at his new school: "I haven't gone a day thinking I wouldn't be eligible until today. I thought it was an open-and-shut case. I guess I was a little naive."
Hoffman filed an appeal, and an official decision will be handed down in one week.
"We understand there's a process that goes with this," Hokies head coach Justin Fuente said, per Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "We respect that process. I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that I was disappointed, for a lot of reasons."
The transfer allowed Hoffman to move closer to his home in Statesville, North Carolina, which cut his commute down from four hours to under two hours.
In its rejection of his waiver request, the NCAA noted that Hoffman is five miles outside the 100-mile radius required for medical hardship waivers and cited the fact that Hoffman's mother's condition has improved since the surgery.
Hoffman acknowledged the latter point but added, "She's never going to be 100 percent again." Hoffman also said, "I need to be there for her and I want to make it easier for her to come see me play."
Virginia Tech offensive line coach Vance Vice informed Hoffman on Tuesday that his waiver was denied. The decision irked Hoffman since other players have been granted immediate eligibility upon transferring for other reasons, including coaching changes: "It kind of gets on my nerves. They did the coaching change waiver and that stuff, I could have applied for that too, but I thought this was real, the medical hardship waiver literally fits my situation."
Coastal Carolina head coach Joe Moglia stepped down in January, meaning Hoffman could've applied for the coaching change waiver. Instead, he filed for a medical hardship waiver and did not hire an attorney since he felt the NCAA would approve his case.
If his appeal is denied, Hoffman will have to sit out the entire 2019 season before being eligible to play in 2020. He said that Vice has told him to "prepare like I'm going to be eligible."