Family Over Football: The Story of Luke Ford

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Family Over Football: The Story of Luke Ford

Savannah Jones, Staff Writer

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Luke Ford is a 4 star tight end from Carterville, Illinois. Ford committed to the University of Georgia on December 21, 2017, a long time before he even got to play a game there. He enrolled on June 2, 2018 and the only game he played in was September 1st. Moving from Illinois to Georgia proved to be a big deal. Ford was only in Athens for about four months, but during the period he was there, he constantly visited his home. Ford decided to red-shirt his freshman year, meanwhile he only gained four yards from one reception for the Dawgs. 

Although Ford had not done much for the team, he was loved by the fan base. Everyone was very excited to see what he could do. But in December 2018, that changed; Ford entered his name into the NCAA transfer portal. No one really saw this coming, and at first everyone was confused. It later came out that Ford’s Grandparents have been having health problems and that’s the reason he will be returning home. When Ford announced he would be playing at Illinois, he was ambushed with prayers and good luck wishes on social media, all from his  former UGA teammates and the amazing fan base.

The NCAA’s rule for transfers are pretty specific. The rule book states, “If you transfer from a four-year college to an NCAA school, you must complete one academic year in residence at the new school before you can play for or receive travel expenses from the new school, unless you qualify for a transfer exception or waiver.” Most players do not like this rule and apply for waivers, and Ford did exactly that. Ford applied for the waiver that would grant him the ability to play in the upcoming 2019 football season. 

The results came back soon for the nations 3rd best tight end for the 2019 class, and it wasn’t what Ford was hoping for. His waiver was  denied. This will greatly affect his career. Ford was denied for his first hardship waiver in April 2019. He then applied for a second one. This whole process cost he and his family a lot of money. They have to hire an attorney and lots of other complicated expenses. He then applied for a second waiver, which was also denied. Sources say this was because of the fact that his Grandparents are not his nuclear family members, which is a requirement for the waiver. 

This confused many fans. Soon after Ford announced his transfer, Georgia’s red-shirt freshman quarterback, Justin Fields announced he would also be transferring. Fields is from Kennesaw, Georgia and was a former 5 star QB and ESPN’s number one player for 2018.  Fields never beat out UGA’s starting quarterback, Jake Fromm. He was frustrated by his lack of playing time or the starting job, but that wasn’t his excuse to transfer. At the Tennessee vs Georgia game, a UGA baseball player was recorded talking about Justin Fields and calling him a racial slur. The baseball player was immediately kicked off the team and out of the college. Fields’ sister plays softball at UGA, yet she did not transfer. Once Fields announced he will be transferring to Ohio State University, their starting quarterback, Tate Martell, who was also a five star, entered his name into the transfer portal. Martell immediately got his waiver approved. This lit a fire in both Georgia and Illinois fans.  

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