NCAA upholds denial of Illinois TE Ford's waiver

The NCAA informed Illinois on Friday it was upholding its decision to deny transfer Luke Ford a waiver for immediate eligibility.

Tom Mars, an attorney who helped the Ford family with its appeal, told ESPN's Adam Rittenberg requests for consideration and appeals of transfer waivers are like watching a football game in overtime, that it can be unpredictable and full of wishful thinking.

"Luke and his family are disappointed, of course," Mars said. "But they're the kind of people who have the unusual ability to maintain a very positive attitude -- even in the face of disappointment. As Luke just said to me in a very grateful way, 'Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn't.'"

Ford, a tight end who transferred to Illinois from Georgia, had his request initially denied in April. As a native of Carterville, Illinois, Ford cited his ailing grandfather as the main reason for his decision to transfer.

Ford's father, Tim, told ESPN in April that the family home in Carterville to Illinois' campus in Champaign, which is more than 100 miles, potentially had impacted the NCAA in denying his request.

"He's leaving the Taj Mahal of facilities [at Georgia] just so his grandpa gets a chance to see him play in person before it's too late," Tim Ford said in April, adding that his son "is pretty devastated" about the decision.

Illinois appealed that denial, and was hoping because of family reasons, that Ford would be granted immediate eligibility. That appeal was denied and now Ford, who did not redshirt his first season at Georgia in 2018, will sit out the 2019 season and will be eligible in 2020 with three seasons remaining.