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College football player transfers to be near mom after her brain tumor — and the NCAA punishes him


'It's just wrong'

M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A college football player who transferred to another school to be closer to his mother, who is recovering from a brain tumor, has been denied eligibility to play during the 2019 season, according to The Roanoke Times.

Brock Hoffman previously attended and played football at Coastal Carolina. In early 2017, his mother, Stephanie, had surgery to have a non-cancerous brain tumor removed. After Brock's sophomore year, he decided to transfer to Virginia Tech, which is about half the distance from his parents' home as Coastal Carolina is.

Hoffman sought a waiver of the NCAA's rule that players transferring to other Football Bowl Subdivision schools must sit out a year. The intention of the rule is to prevent an excessive amount of transfers, something the organization believes undermines its academic mission. The NCAA does allow players to submit waiver requests for exceptions in certain circumstances.

Hoffman had his initial waiver denied in April, and on Tuesday, his final appeal was also denied. The NCAA said the waiver wasn't granted, in part, because Stephanie was recovering. However, the family says they provided documentation that she has facial paralysis, hearing loss, and impaired eyesight.

But, the NCAA asked, if things are so bad, why didn't she retire from her job as a teacher? Brian Hoffman, Brock's father and Stephanie's husband, was appalled by the line of questioning.

"We have almost a million dollars of medical bills," Brian said. "She's a teacher and doesn't have enough years to get full pay from her pension. We simply couldn't afford it."

Further contributing to the denial is a new rule the NCAA implemented over the summer, which stated that transfers due to family illnesses "must occur within or immediately after the academic year." Brian said no one ever mentioned that rule before Tuesday.

"The NCAA's process is just horrible," Brian said. "It's just wrong."

Brock won't be able to play in 2019, but he and the family are exploring potential legal action against the NCAA to prevent this from happening to others in the future. The family is now looking to make the best of the situation.

"Brock is probably handling it better than we are," Brian said. "Brock will redshirt, work on his craft and be ready to go for 2020. He's got a lot of good people he's become friends with. I'm so proud of the way he's handled it and dealt with it."

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