Florida seeking special eligibility waiver for Georgia transfer

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Missouri tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, right, is tracked down by Georgia's Brenton Cox, left, during the first half of the Sept. 22 game last year in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

There’s a chance Georgia transfer Brenton Cox Jr., a former consensus five-star recruit, could be playing for Florida as soon as this season instead of having to sit out a year.

Florida is going to be seeking a special waiver from the NCAA that would make the outside linebacker/defensive end eligible immediately, UF coach Dan Mullen said Monday.

“Oh, yeah, we’re definitely going to apply for a waiver for him and see,” Mullen said. “We feel good about it, of having him be able to play (this season). I think you look at all the previous scenarios that are out there around the country, we feel we have a good opportunity.”

UF will seek the same waiver from the SEC.

Mullen would not reveal the basis of the waiver for seeking immediate eligibility.

“We’re not going to get into that part of it,” he said. “We’re going to do it how we do it, through the NCAA. It’s not something we’re going to try to play out publicly to influence anything one way or the other. We’re going to just go through the channels and do it the right way.”

Cox, who is from Stockbridge, Ga., played in 13 games for the Bulldogs as a true freshman last season, recording 20 tackles, including a career-high six in UGA’s loss to Texas in the Sugar Bowl.

He was arrested in Athens in April on misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession. Under Georgia Athletic Association policy, he faced a one-game suspension for the Bulldogs’ opener against Vanderbilt.

He entered the NCAA transfer portal last week and quickly found a new school, which happens to be one of Georgia’s biggest rivals.

Mullen said the UF players played a role in the process that led Cox to Gainesville.

“As soon as he went in (the portal early last week), some of the players reached out and said he had called some of them to ask about us,” Mullen said. “I think he knew a lot of the guys on the team, understood defensively he was a great fit for the scheme we run on defense — the positional fit. That and the opportunity.

“He’s not going real far from home. His mom can come watch him play, still and be close to home. With what he knew of the guys on the team it was a good fit for him talking to guys on our team with how our program is run and what we do and how that would fit him.”

Mullen previously knew Cox, whom he had recruited when he was the head coach at Mississippi State. Once Mullen and his staff knew Cox was interested in transferring to UF, things happened quickly. He practiced with the Gators on Saturday and is listed on the roster.

“Dealing with his high school coaches, talking to him, talking to his mom. It’s a unique deal,” Mullen said. “Because of the timing, he’s not allowed to take an official visit. We asked.

“Part of the transfer portal, there’s a lot of different things that come up. This is the first time something like this has come up for us. They said no (to official visit). But going through everything, he wanted to move quickly on it to get to a school and get this waiver process going so he’s got the opportunity to play (this season).”

58 COMMENTS

    • Good luck. I mean I am in a position where I have to look at things professionally as well as somewhat objectively. My brother-in-law is a very high ranking sports writer. He is mainly into the behind the scenes stuff of where a recruit might land. Even when they know. Sometimes their still not allowed to say for certain reasons. As for this waiver. Honestly coach Mullen has nothing! He is just rolling the dice and hoping. Ultimately it will be another bad look for the staff if he gets a waiver or if he doesn’t.

      Those on one side will cry foul if a convicted criminal gets a waiver. That is the real reason he was let go. He wasn’t fond of the disciplinary action they were taking. Small crime or not. He did violate NCAA rules, team rules, SEC rules, as well as the law! The Luke Ford denial already looks bad on the NCAA and if they give this kid a special waiver. Well then it’s going to look even worse. I don’t think the NCAA is willing to put their neck out this long over Brenton Cox who basically just walked off the field and quit. Dan should use better judgment. Even if the NCAA gave the waiver. The fallout that will come from it could potentially cost Florida big on other recruits in the portal.

      Let’s say for example, he gets a waiver. Then there will be all kinds of negative fallout from people saying the NCAA is favoring Florida. To Dan Mullen paid for a waiver. Then other recruits thinking hard about Florida will back off the gators fearing the NCAA won’t want to grant their waiver! Then this kid that got the waiver might just decide he wants to do what got him in trouble at georgia. No,no,no bad move Dan Mullen. But hey, I’m a gator. So hope it works out.

      Gatorade

  1. Wow! Things have really changed. From a player’s perspective, that’s a good thing. If he can start camp at UGA and end up playing for the Gators, all in a span of weeks…. wow, just wow. The powers that be at the NCAA HQ must be freaking out at these new developments.

      • According to your comment, “a self-inflicted problem brought on by breaking the law,” ignores the fact that there are a lot of UF and college students “breaking the law” by smoking marijuana. By the way, I rather have him smoke marijuana than beating up a girlfriend or stealing.

        • I’m pretty sure Joe would cede the point you made in your last sentence, ’72…..but it really doesn’t matter how many people violate a law, it’s still a law and therefore difficult to make a case with a sanctioning or governing body having broken it it the first place. It clearly wasn’t Joe’s intent to start a pissing contest with anybody regarding the validity of a criminal law one way or the other.

          • Gator-6, in an era where the majority of people do not see smoking marijuana as a criminal offense, no one should this young man without knowing all the facts. Was it a one time deal, like president Clinton? or is he a heavy smoker like Snoop Dogg? We really do not know. I agree that the law, in some places, does not allow the consumption of marijuana, yet even politicians agree that the law should be changed. What I found harsh in Joe’s comment is that he finds unbelievable that others may grant him a waiver to play this year for the Gators. Who are we to go against the decision of others? Whatever the decision is, we should accept it and move on.

          • 72: I would dispute that a majority of people “dont see smoking MJ as a criminal offense”. Using medical MJ yes. That is why they only put medical MJ on the ballot, because they knew recreational use would not pass. In fact very few states have been able to pass such. Just very liberal states!

          • Hey ’72 — I see your point to the degree that it’s consistent with the current cultural trajectory, but ask that you read Gatorade’s excellent analysis of the situation above. My point tho really is that Joe Shiver has always been one of the most balanced commenters on here over the years, and while he may have come across as “harsh” to you in this instance, in reality he is merely acknowledging the reality of existing legal codes which, of course, may fly in the face of current societal and ideological trends. (Gatorade amplifies this as well). Tell you what pardner, google “bifurcating polarities” and get back with me. 😎 Go Gators, bud!

          • Daz, “Americans overwhelmingly support legalizing cannabis — polls remind us of this trend frequently.” I am of the opinion that drugs and alcohol should be banned, but my opinion is supported by a small minority. You say, “that is why they only put medical MJ on the ballot, because they knew recreational use would not pass,” but as a matter of fact eleven states and the District of Columbia have fully legalized the use of recreational cannabis. One positive thing about legalizing it is that the cartels and petty dealers are completely cut off. Listen we all have our opinions, but at the end we are here because we love the University of Florida and our sports teams. Go Gators!

          • Dang it, 6! That’s the last time I’m Googling something at your suggestion. I got multiple hits that appeared to be related to neurology, biology, and physics, all of which made my head explode just reading the summaries. I also got one hit that said “50 Crazy Sexy Photos Ivanka Trump Never Wanted Anyone To See”. It did not make my head explode, and I promise I didn’t click on it. My apologies to UFGator1972 for suggesting it might be fun. Maybe that’s why he hasn’t replied to my comment below. Oh, well…Go Gators!

        • ’72, as 6 states below, it wasn’t my intent to start a pissing contest, although I do like a good (civil) debate. I thought I was clear in expressing my opinion that the NCAA usually doesn’t, nor should it, extend favorable treatment to athletes that create their own hardship by bad behavior. Let me try to clarify without being “pissy”.

          The reason I ignored all the other pot-smoking students on the UF campus and campuses throughout the US is because this case doesn’t involve them. It involves Brenton Cox. Like it or not, a UF football player is a public representative of the university and, as such, is held to a higher standard.

          If most politicians and the general public are in favor of legalization, then let those politicians have the guts to offer and pass a bill in session instead of abdicating their duty to constitutional amendments. If they and you are right about the attitude of the public, there’ll be little to no backlash from passing such legislation.

          Since pot is still illegal in the vast majority of states, and illegal in federal law, it really doesn’t matter if this is Cox’s first time, or not. It’s still a crime, and I don’t consider it harsh to simply raise that point. And btw, if you think that was Bill Clinton’s only time, I’ve got some beautiful oceanfront property in Little Rock that I think you’ll love!

          What I do think is harsh is the prospect that an athlete who has committed a crime could transfer and play immediately while a guy like Will Grier, who simply took a legal nutritional supplement that happened to contain an NCAA banned substance, gets hit with a year-long suspension. Listen, I have no ill will toward Cox, and I hope he gets through this without the pot demon hanging over his head the rest of his life. But, for him to get preferential treatment when Grier lost a year of eligibilty and had his reputation tarnished over a legal supplement is just plain wrong.

          Regarding who I think I am to disagree with someone else’s decisions, I’m a free thinker exercising his God-given and constitutionally recognized right to express disagreement through freedom of speech. While I claim this right for myself, I also recognize that you have the same right and will await your rebuttal. I also recognize that I am not the authority in this case, so I will follow your advice and accept whatever decision comes and move on.

          Finally, it might be fun to Google “bifurcating polarities” as Gator-6 recommends. Go Gators!

      • Yes, iron sharpens iron, and then the edge is pretty much beat to a fare thee well, by the coaching genius that is Kirby Smart.

        Smart; what an utterly inapt name. Fourth and eleven from around mid-field late in the 4th quarter of a tie game? SURE! He should change his name to Dumas, and use the redneck instead of the French pronunciation.

      • Well…he sure as heck played a lot of football and was in the rotation as a true freshman. Perhaps another guy came in to challenge those minutes…which is not some only in Athens phenomenon, but that’s what I’d say if I wore red and black pup gear too. I mean don’t you boys have 85 5 star guys round those parts? Why would you care?

    • @SpringHillPhil………..I have been around UGA fans. They are actually chomping at the bit to get at us! Their not in the least worried about this or us. You know with my brother I have a chance to hang with different fans. Georgia fans used to be nervous even in years they had the better team on paper. They were nervous to play us but not anymore. I’m telling you Kirby has brought a fire to the team and the fans. Their not the least bit scared anymore at all. They actually think it’s funny that we think their scared.

      Gatorade

      • You want to know what makes me sick. It’s the fact that what georgia is enjoying right now could easily have been us. We had a chance to hire Kirby Smart twice and did not. He called inquiring about the Florida job back when we hired Muschamp and again when we hire Jim.

        Yea naturally we all knew his dream job was Georgia and why not? But he is known to be a very loyal coach. Did you know we could have hired him for less than we paid Muschamp and Jim? He’ll with him we would have already been ahead of Alabama and Georgia by now. If he could take georgia to a national title game in just year two. Where would we be by now?

        By the way. Through the grapevine I heard that. There might actually be something to some georgia fans complaints that the officials may have been paid off in the national championship game. As I said my brother, well brother-in-law but we think of each other as brothers. Anyway he said that he did here some underground talks of payoffs.

        The only evidence is that Saban is known to have made a few calls and even played a round of golf with the head official. Not in preparation for the game but like the golf game was in the off season. Still he supposedly called him just before the national championship game. The word is the payoff came outside the stadium. Remember the Alabama player that fainted on the sidelines? Well the word is he took a note to someone along with some cash. All of this is just hearsay. Saban has never even been asked about it. However, some people very close to the game said it may well have happened.

        Listen I personally don’t care if it happened or not. I couldn’t care less about georgia losing because I wanted Saban to make history. The only thing is. If we get back to the SEC championship or the national championship game. I sure wouldn’t want that to happen to us. The cash that the kid was supposed to have taken out with him. Some have said it might have been for hospital experiences or snacks if he needed to stay. I’m not sure the kid ever made it to the hospital. He may have I’m not sure. I do know he temporarily was outside the stadium. For how long I’m not sure. I didn’t keep up with it. But my brother-in-law seems to think the story is bogus. But he admits it comes from some fairly high up people. One person claims to know for a fact that money changed hands via a channel. But if it did Saban is good at covering his steps. There did seem to be many penalties that weren’t called at crucial times. But basically everyone makes similar claims when playing Alabama. I remember back when we played Alabama for the SEC championship. I recall thinking it was very strange how Dunlap was arrested on a DUI charge at that particular time. I mean he was a college kid and probably did it often. So why was it that particular time that he got caught? Well Saban may have had something to do with it. But if his intention was to bring the gators down. Then he did a good job. Do you guys remember how good we were and how quickly we fell? It’s amazing we won the east as many times as we did after our fall.

        But that Dunlap arrest has always been in the back of my mind. Some even said that the officer who arrested him may have been an Alabama fan. I am not for drunk driving. But considering it was right before the big game. You would think he could let him off with a warning. It was almost like he was watching for him and possibly waiting. If he was an Alabama fan then it makes sense. Again just through the grapevine. They say the officer actually knows Nick Saban personally some how. I can’t vouch for the truthfulness of that story. However, I wouldn’t doubt it even a little. I am in a position to hear some very hush hush type things. That is why I can’t reveal my brother-in-law’s name. Imagine if I did telling you stories like these. What makes me the most angry personally. Is that Urban may have left us because he felt he couldn’t get a fair shake in the SEC. We fell a long way and very hard. We haven’t ever recovered from it.

        Gatorade

      • Wow what an insight, that explains why you are here pretending to be a Gator while pumping on the leghumpers, of course no one is scared of the Gators, of course not puppy fans. They are not scared, just insecure like heck and still waiting since 1980 but not scared of the Gators at all.

    • @ Erik Russel
      “At UGa, iron sharpens iron these days. Replaced by much better athletes.”

      Thank you for that inside info bro. I’m sure all my Gator brethren here appreciate a Georgia fan coming to our Gator site and bragging about them leghumpers. We really, really care what Georgia and their fans think so post some more of your pearls of wisdom.
      BTW, I hope you are enjoying your little 2 year run and hope you are not one of those who think you have a 2 year dynasty

  2. Given some of the other waivers I’ve seen recently, I don’t see why he won’t get it. What’s the difference between smoking pot and not getting PT or being homesick? It’s all subjective. Who’s to say he didn’t transfer cause of something besides the arrest?

    • @Wadeless, well because smoking pot is breaking both the law and NCAA as well as SEC rules. He left georgia of his own free will because he didn’t want to deal with disciplinary action he was under. Breaking team rules, NCAA rules and SEC rules. Then jumping in the portal to avoid punishment. That can only fly so many times. I don’t see him getting a waiver and I’m not really a fan of this guy. He can change my mind. But for now I’m not a fan. As for Mullen I was all in like everyone else at first. But let’s face it. We were down on him last year after the cocktail party. Then again when Missouri throttled us we were not happy. Had to come from behind to beat eastern division foes. Then we again got excited over big wins over FSU and Michigan. Well many of the Michigan players were either sitting it out or not playing for some reason. As for FSU. They were down all year. Now all that has happened just makes me question if Mullen is the right man for the job. Did we hire him because we thought he was another Urban Meyer? Well so far he is not and not showing me any progress. He single handedly lost the Kentucky game for us. By insisting on Franks passing for a TD instead of running it in. We shouldn’t have tried that. Mullen needs to stop trying to reinvent the wheel.

      Gatorade

      • First you are all over the place and scatter brained, and that previous Saban conspiracy post is coo-coo to the max
        Secondly no one I know was down on Mullen after any of the losses last year, I was down on Franks early on but not Mullen
        Thirdly stop downplaying our victories over FSU and Michigan, we beat them fair and square and they are much better than Georgia losing to Texas for comparison
        Fourthly what the heck you talking about us missing out on Kirby, Mullen is a much better coach than that fool
        Fifthly all of the above makes me think you may be some sort of troll

          • I’m still in and out but somehow can’t stay away from discord and dissonance and reading between the lines tells me we have replaced last year’s FSU trolls with UGA trolls. That’s the impression I got from Gatorade and Erk Russel. The former babbles all over the place while the latter is more direct, yet both seem the same.

          • CO, go back when you have a minute and check out the April-May-June 2018 archives for starters. It was pretty damn nasty and I was called an FSU troll repeatedly, as well as of having multiple screen names such as TebowCurse, Mikey, GatorG, Mike, ad infinitum. It went on for weeks and months until I finally posted a photo of my Gator-6 license plate….no apology and the harassment continued but at least I wasn’t called an FSU troll anymore. GatorG and Mike (one a UF chemist and the other a UF engineer) both got fed up and left. The upshoot for me was to not automatically call anybody a troll unless it was clear — this Erk Russel guy is definitely a troll, and likewise a turd of the first order — GatorAde…..I totally disagree with a lot of what he says, but I’m not going to judge him yet. By the way, GatorG and Mike had similar posts, but they were good Gators nonetheless — just had a different take.

            You always stood by me, bud, along with Joe Shiver, Dan F, and a few others. Just asking that we not rush to judgement on GatorAde. Yet. If he’s what you suspect, I’ll join up! Fair enough?

          • OK 6, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt but I can read between the lines of his posts and to me it smells like a troll. I’ll wait and see what comes up next.
            BTW the feller that called you a troll was calling out a lot of other posters as well and I could tell he was way off but we’ll see.

      • Gatorade, I for one — speaking for the majority, I suspect — were never in favor of the Mullen hire in order to somehow replicate Urban Meyer. Quite the contrary, in fact. What we were, and are, interested in is bringing the Gators back to national prominence, bringing back SEC championships, and of course winning more national championships — all while doing it with a coach of good moral character, honesty, and a certain savvy for the game of football in all of its many phases. CDM fits that bill as far as I’m concerned; I’ll let others weigh in with their own opinions. But has he ever stepped on his ____, making the wrong call or going with the wrong assumptions? Sure, and so has every high profile head coach out there. Is that somehow his default setting? You suggest “yes”, on limited sampling I might add; I say “no” on the basis of the same sample.

        Look, you know as well as I do that we spent 7 years wandering in the desert of mediocrity and irrelevance. Mullen has one season under his belt. A larger sample of his body of work is coming, but let’s wait until then to declare him a failure, not as good as so and so, so on and so forth. If I’m right, which of course would make you wrong, you owe me nothing. But if I’m wrong, by God I’ll take out a full page ad in the Sun declaring myself the Suck Egg Mule of the Ages….what’s more, I’ll tote you down to the Columbia in Ybor City and buy you all the Cuban sammiches you can stand. On?

        I stand by my comment that you should post more often, bud — but you will no doubt take some heat for your position. Not as bad as you would have just a year ago…..but stand tall anyway because at the end of the day we’ve really got a good bunch of guys on here. That said, you’re still wrong as a left shoe about Mullen. Go Gators! ❤🐊🏈

  3. I don’t see him getting a waiver. Why would he? If there is no set list of criteria, then the NCAA has to ask him “what are the grounds for a waiver?” If they allow athletes to change schools two weeks before the season then this is nothing more than perpetual free agency. What next, players changing teams in the middle of the season? This isn’t baseball. Students don’t change colleges in the middle of the semester as a norm. Practice hard and play hard and let the rest take care of itself. Go Gators!

  4. I try to read the posts on a daily basis and add my two cents every now and then. However, after wading through some of the comments here, I may take a week off to recover. Just for the record: I graduated UF with a degree in Journalism but never practiced as a member the Fourth Estate, instead opting for law. However, I still knew I could tell the difference between a good writer and one not so good. Some of the posts here reinforced that belief, especially the rambling post that rivaled a conspiracy theory article. So, can we stick to sports?

    • i am a total CDM guy, one of my favorite things is that he seems to have a knack for good assistants, and also is a pretty good judge of talent, a lot of guys and a lot of his teams seem to outperform expectations. time will tell about the young player cox, maybe he works out, but from where i sit, i support the move. this player a year ago may have considered florida but not have been confident about whether the young linebacker coach would be a success. a year later, we know the assistant is good at his job, and that may make more sense for Cox whether he had a weed problem, an attitude issue, or anything else in the way. sometimes a coach makes all the difference, my favorite example is trent brown, who leaped from a fourstar part timer under champ etc to the top of the top under belicheck. dont know, its just that this stuff takes time, and these coaches have earned our respect to follow their judgments, as opposed to listening to people like me when i get down on our third string defensive tackle or even our qbs on more occasions than i should

    • gator-sr, I get your point, but sometimes the articles themselves don’t stick to sports, at least not the coaching, player skills, strategy, game planning, and execution aspects of sports. Sometimes the articles veer into the business and human interest aspects of sports, and when they do, the comments follow suit. We have some very articulate and no-nonsense posters here, with StLGator coming quickly to mind. He’s very knowledgeable of all aspects of football and shoots it straight with only an occasional venture into humor. Then, there’s JawsofTruth who quite often leaves me shaking my head in disagreement, but does so with such humor that I have to appreciate his skill. Finally, you have the leader of the pack, Gator-6. 6 is capable of waxing analytical to the point of making you (well, me at least) run to the dictionary to keep up, but then will turn sarcastic in a heartbeat…talk about “bifurcating polarities”! Most of the rest of us are somewhere in between, but, for me, it’s the diversity of opinions, ideas, and writing styles that make these comment boards so interesting. If you leave, you’ll just be depriving this site of one of its more articulate posters.