Former Coastal Carolina offensive lineman Brock Hoffman has garnered national support in his attempt to be eligible to play this upcoming season after transferring to Virginia Tech.
Hoffman was one of several Chanticleers who entered their names in the new NCAA transfer portal this offseason and he signed with the Hokies.
Division I undergraduate transfers are required to sit out a season after a transfer unless they receive a waiver from the NCAA, and Hoffman requested one based on a medical family hardship.
He told The Athletic earlier this year that part of the reason he wanted to transfer was to be closer to his mother, who is recovering from surgery to remove a benign brain tumor, and family home in Statesville, N.C., which is about a two-hour drive from the Hokie campus in Blacksburg, Va. “I just think I need to be close to home to take care of her and help her with certain appointments,” Hoffman said.
His request was denied and he has filed an appeal.
Hoffman made a plea for support from Virginia Tech fans on Twitter to help influence the NCAA on his behalf, and provided pictures of his mother in the hospital that showed what appeared to be an MRI or X-ray of the tumor that was removed and huge stapled incisions in her neck and head from the surgery.
The tweet has been retweeted more than 18,000 times and received nearly 37,000 likes and nearly 1,000 comments in support of his waiver request.
Hoffman tweeted: “Crazy how the NCAA has denied my medical family hardship waiver for my eligibility [for] the 2019 season. The waiver was for my mother having an Acoustic Neuroma (brain tumor) removed. The appeal process has now started and it’s all in God’s hands.”
Hoffman then provided what he said were the two primary reasons the NCAA denied his waiver request.
“VT is 5 miles outside of the 100 mile radius from my house,” he wrote. “Now the NCAA is a group of doctors and has stated that my mother’s condition has gotten better since being at Coastal Carolina University yet the left side of her face still has facial paralysis, hear loss and eye sight issues and will never 100 percent be the same.”
He concluded his tweet with: “They appeal process will be quick and I need all the support I can get! Don’t let the NCAA take football away from me this season when others get a free pass for playing time issues.”
Hoffman appears to be referring to players such as quarterbacks Justin Fields and Tate Martell, who have both been granted waivers to play in 2019. Martell transferred from Ohio State to Miami (Fla.) this offseason after appearing in six games as Dwayne Haskins’ primary backup. He chose to leave the program after Fields announced his transfer from Georgia to Ohio State after not winning the starting job.
The distance to Blacksburg from Statesville is nearly 105 miles and the driving distance is 135 miles. The distance to Conway from Statesville is 174 miles and the driving distance is 203 miles.
A CBSSports.com story suggested Hoffman would be more likely to receive a waiver in its appeal citing circumstances such as Coastal’s head coaching change from Joe Moglia to Jamey Chadwell. The story suggested the NCAA’s hands were tied because the distance fell outside its 100-mile policy and stated Martell used Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer’s retirement at the end of the season as a reason for his waiver request.
Hoffman, who is 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds, will be a junior next season and started all 24 games he played in two years at Coastal at center as a freshman and guard as a sophomore. He received Sun Belt Conference Commissioner’s List recognition for posting at least a 3.5 GPA for the 2017-18 academic year.
The Hoffman family released a statement through Virginia Tech expressing appreciation for the support it has received.
Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente also offered support for Hoffman.
“We still have an appeal left. Our administration is going to do everything we can do to support him in that appeal,” Fuente said during a press conference. “We understand there is a process that goes with this. We respect that process. We’re trying to do everything we can to support Brock and his family through this time.
“. . . “When you see a kid who tries to go about it in what you perceive to be the right way for very real reasons and it doesn’t work out it’s very disappointing.”