#FreeCadeMays garners national support after NCAA denies eligibility to Vols’ lineman


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt said Monday the Vols will appeal the NCAA’s decision to deny offensive lineman Cade Mays’ waiver to be eligible immediately this season after transferring from Georgia.

The denial has sparked an outpouring of support on social media through the hashtag, #FreeCadeMays. Within moments of the hashtag’s creation, A wave of Tennessee players added their voices in support of their teammate.

Reactions have poured in from across the collegiate sports landscape.

Mays’ eligibility denial drew the ire of ESPN’s Jay Bilas who slammed the NCAA for its decision in a tweet, saying the NCAA “has a chance to right this wrong on appeal.”

Clemson wide receiver and Knoxville-native Amari Rodgers expressed his support on Twitter as well.

Isaiah Wilson, Mays’ former teammate at Georgia and Tennessee Titans’ 2020 1st round draft pick, also lent his voice to the cause.  

Even politicians took notice of the movement. U.S. Congressman Tim Burchett joined in along with Tennessee State House Majority WHIP Johnny Garrett.

Pruitt, who’s been outspoken in his support of a one-time transfers, expressed his frustration on the NCAA’s denial following the team’s first official practice Monday.

“My question is why should we stand in the way. I know it’s frustrating for Cade it’s frustrating for our team.”

Tennessee Head Coach Jeremy Pruitt

There’s still over a month until the start of the college football season. Tennessee fans are hoping for another successful appeal process that previously allowed defensive lineman Aubrey Soloman to suit up immediately last year after his transfer from Michigan.

Tennessee basketball also successfully won an appeal for eligibility last season to allow Arizona State transfer Uros Plavsic to play immediately.

Mays would join his younger brother, freshman offensive lineman Cooper, on the field if granted immediate eligibility. Their father, Kevin, was an All-SEC offensive lineman and team captain at Tennessee in the 1990s.

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