Ex-Michigan player's mother accuses school of misdirection during transfer waiver process

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Michigan defensive back <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaaf/players/287923/" data-ylk="slk:Myles Sims">Myles Sims</a> won't be eligible to play at Georgia Tech in 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
Michigan defensive back Myles Sims won't be eligible to play at Georgia Tech in 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

Former Michigan cornerback Myles Sims will not be immediately eligible at Georgia Tech in 2019. And his mother believes it may have something to do with the way that Michigan handled his transfer waiver request.

Sims, an Atlanta-area native, had applied to be immediately eligible at GT in 2019 after transferring from Michigan in the offseason. His family said when informing the school of Sims’ desire to transfer that they told Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan staff that Sims needed to be closer to home for personal reasons.

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Instead, they claim, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, that Michigan said in documentation presented to the NCAA that Sims was making the move for reasons relating to playing time.

From the AJC:

“The disappointment is in knowing that they included just a few words outside of what we said to mislead the NCAA in their decision-making,” Katrina Sims, Myles’ mother, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday. “Whether that weighed in heavily or not on the documentation that we provided, we take issue with that.”

UM told the AJC that it followed standard transfer policy and didn’t oppose his waiver request. The Sims are appealing the eligibility decision.

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Similar concerns from another ex-player’s family

The Sims family isn’t the first family to take issue with the way that Michigan has handled the process around a player wanting to transfer. James Hudson transferred from Michigan to Cincinnati and he too had his waiver denied by the NCAA.

In a story published by the Athletic earlier in August, the Hudson family detailed what they felt was an odd meeting with Harbaugh about Hudson’s decision to transfer because he was struggling with depression while in Ann Arbor.

Hudson’s waiver was denied on the grounds that he didn’t explicitly talk about the mental health issues he had experienced while at Michigan. Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell told the Athletic that he was flabbergasted at the way his conversation with Harbaugh went when he talked to the Wolverines coach about Hudson’s transfer.

“Here’s what I believe in the whole waiver process: the number one, most important thing, and all the power, comes from the school that a kid is leaving. No matter what,” Fickell told The Athletic. “(Michigan) didn’t back the waiver. They can say what they want to say, but the only thing they said that was positive was that if the NCAA chooses to make (Hudson) eligible, then they would accept it — that they didn’t have an angle. They are just trying to cover their ass. And I’m really, completely disappointed in it.

“They can say they didn’t undermine it, but they didn’t work to help the kid out.”

Like with Sims, Michigan said it followed the NCAA’s rules when it comes to transfers.

“I read Luke Fickell’s comments, and unless I’m reading them wrong or mistaking them, I believe he’s under the impression that these waivers are decided coach to coach in some kind of deal fashion,” Harbaugh said after the Athletic story was published.

“That is not the understanding that I’m under — I’m under the understanding that the NCAA decides these waivers. Unless he has something he can bring forth and share and enlighten us and the entire football world, I would really like to know what that is.”

Harbaugh wants immediate eligibility for all transfers

At least two families’ disappointment with the way that Michigan has handled their transfer waivers seems, at least slightly, at odds with the stance that Harbaugh took on transfers at Big Ten media days.

“My opinion is that every student-athlete should have a one-time ability to transfer and not have to sit out a year, and then if they were to transfer a second time, then the previous rule that we had, where you had to sit out a year of eligibility, and with that, I would also keep the graduate transfer rule that we have in place right now, where you can graduate and transfer and become immediately eligible,” Harbaugh said in July.

”You have one time where you can transfer, be immediately eligible. A second time you'd have to sit out a year, while still having the graduate transfer rule. It would be good to just have a clear, concise, where everybody understands what the ramifications are. I think that would be a fair way to proceed.”

Hours after making those comments from the podium, Harbaugh then said on SiriusXM later that afternoon that players shouldn’t lie about mental health issues when they transfer. He did not mention Hudson by name in those comments and said he wasn’t referencing the former offensive lineman. But that sentiment feels harder and harder to believe.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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