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Arizona House of Representatives writes letter to NCAA in regards to their denial of ASU WR Jake Smith’s transfer waiver

© Rob Shumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

A bipartisan group of legislators from the Arizona House of Representatives has written a letter to the NCAA to try to get them to consider overturning the denial of ASU WR Jake Smith’s transfer waiver.

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The letter “urges the National Collegiate Athletic Association to revisit its decision to deny a transfer waiver for football player Jake Smith. Their letter highlights the unique circumstances surrounding Smith’s case and calls for a fair and compassionate assessment of his eligibility to play college football.”

Full letter

The letter, which was written by Rep. Joseph Chaplik and co-signed by 35 legislators, was addressed to NCAA President Charlie Baker and reads:

“Dear President Baker:

We urge you to reconsider the NCAA’s decision denying a transfer waiver for Jake Smith—an incredibly talented football player and former wide receiver at Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep. The circumstances surrounding the NCAA’s denial are deeply troubling. Jake attended UT Austin but only played in an abbreviated 2020 season due to injuries and back-to-back surgeries. After UT cleared him to play football, he transferred to USC in 2022, but never played on the team because USC declared him a medical non-transfer. In early December 2022, Jake entered into the transfer portal, before the NCAA approved of its new transfer rule. Jake transferred to ASU in January so that he could play college football again.

The NCAA’s ruling is punitive and unfair, and the NCAA has been rightly criticized for its recent decisions denying transfer waivers to other similarly-situated players. The NCAA should make every effort to grant waivers to student athletes like Jake with documented medical hardships and unique circumstances. It is particularly concerning that UT appears to have encouraged Jake to play football even though his injuries had not healed. To the extent the UT coaches or staff made questionable or unethical decisions, the NCAA should not punish Jake for those errors.

Moreover, it goes without saying that many student athletes’ careers have been derailed by the COVID- 19 pandemic. It is imperative that the NCAA take this into account and carefully consider the circumstances of each athlete to ensure a consistent and fair application of the NCAA’s rules. The NCAA should determine whether a student athlete has a legitimate reason to seek a transfer waiver and whether colleges are being honest with their athletes when they make medical decisions that have a direct impact on those students’ athletic success and future. Being a student athlete brings great responsibility to the student, but more importantly, the NCAA should be empowered to help students in these unique situations.

For all of these reasons, we strongly urge you to reconsider your decision of Jake’s transfer appeal, which will enable him to fulfill his promising potential at ASU.”


Smith’s waiver was originally denied on Aug. 10.

As I wrote then, and as the Arizona House of Representatives described:

“The reason that this news hurts the most is the fact that Smith wouldn’t have even been able to play for USC if he stayed there.

Smith started his career at Texas out of high school in 2019 before transferring to USC in 2021 after suffering a foot injury in spring practice.

He was declared a medical non-counter at USC after doctors decided he would be unable to continue his playing career at the school after the injury. So, Smith never played in a game for the Trojans and never received his undergraduate degree.

The NCAA has been cracking down on two-time transfers without degrees and not been giving eligibility to most of them, so Smith fell victim to this.”

NCAA denies ASU WR Jake Smith’s transfer waiver

Dillingham’s comments

The day after the waiver denial was announced Arizona State coach Kenny Dillingham commented on the ruling:

“I think it’s ridiculous to be honest,” he said. “I think it’s a kid who’s an unbelievable kid who went through a lot. And college football is supposed to be about helping kids achieve their dreams, helping them become young men, and that’s very disappointing. I think this game helps Jake Smith. I think Jake Smith’s last six months here, growing and maturing as a young man who’s had a lot of ups and downs, and who was at a high in his life right now.

“For him to have to face that when he’s on an upward trajectory is the opposite of what college athletics is supposed to be because it should be about helping the student athlete. And I think that decision is hurting our student athlete. And I think it’s not just hurting ours. I think there’s other kids around the country. And I understand there’s people that take advantage of rules and try to manipulate the system and poor taste, but at the same token, that’s part of life people are always gonna manipulate whatever rules you have. There’s nothing you can do about it. So you better do right to the people who are doing it right. And Jake Smith does it right.”

Kenny Dillingham comments on NCAA declaring Jake Smith ineligible

Now, with local government support, the NCAA’s denial of Smith’s waiver has a greater chance of being overturned.

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Brendan Mau is a college sports insider and general assignment reporter for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

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