NCAA approves Cade Mays’ waiver appeal for No. 15 Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The NCAA notified No. 15 Tennessee on Thursday that offensive lineman Cade Mays’ appeal for a waiver to play immediately has been approved.

Now it’s up to the Southeastern Conference and Commissioner Greg Sankey to allow Mays to transfer inside the league after the lineman started his career at Georgia.

Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt said he hadn’t really had a chance to talk to Sankey much about this situation. But he said the commissioner has done a great job protecting players and putting athletes first.

“I have a lot of confidence in the outcome,” Pruitt said.

Mays is a native of Knoxville whose father, Kevin, was a team captain at Tennessee and an All-Southeastern Conference guard in 1994. Mays announced his decision to transfer in January, and the attorney for Mays’ parents accused Georgia of leaking news that the lineman’s parents had sued the university in December.

The lawsuit filed in Georgia came about two years after Kevin Mays lost part of his little finger when it was caught in a folding chair at a dinner for recruits at Sanford Stadium.

Pruitt said Tennessee always has known that SEC approval would be needed as well for Mays to play this season. The Vols open the season Sept. 26 at South Carolina, so a quick decision is needed for the lineman to be available.

The Tennessee coach said he’s been on the other end of this situation and remembers when nobody was allowed to transfer within the SEC. He mentioned defensive back Maurice Smith, who left Alabama for Georgia in 2016 and was granted a waiver as a graduate transfer.

So did current Tennessee center Brandon Kennedy, who left Alabama to join the Vols in 2018.

“I think this would be a first,” Pruitt said.

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