Let's, for just a second, not talk about the fact that Brock Hoffman's mom had a non-cancerous brain tumor removed, leaving her with paralysis, deafness, and vision problems on one side of her face.
Let's not think about how difficult the last two years have been for the Hoffman family. Or how terrifying those unknown moments before and after the surgery likely were.
Let's not talk about how awful it must have been for an 18-year-old kid who had just left home for the first time, only to learn that his mom had a tumor near her brain stem. Or how conflicted he must have felt being four hours away from home, yet having a financial obligation (read, scholarship) to stay that far away.
Let's also not talk about how a plethora of other players, simply in search for playing time, hopped from one power five school to another without fear of retribution from an increasingly inconsistent NCAA.
While we're at it, let's also not talk about the fact that one of the original reasons that the NCAA denied Hoffman's request for eligibility was that his family lived five miles outside of the "appropriate" 100-mile radius of Blacksburg. It also doesn't seem that we should we talk about what appropriate means, who decided it, and why 105 miles makes caregiving any different than 100.
And last, but certainly not least, let's not talk about the NCAA's other reason for initially denying Hoffman's request, that his family didn't provide sufficient documentation to prove his mother's medical condition and her dependency on her son. Because it's certainly out of character for the NCAA to have the organizational ineptitude to call a sick mother a liar.
That would never happen.
What we should talk about, however, is the reason they allegedly denied him this time.
According to person familiar w/the NCAA process, the ultimate reason Hoffman was rejected was he did not transfer quickly enough after his mom's initial cancer diagnosis. Diagnosed & had surgery to remove a brain tumor in Jan, 2017. He transferred to VT two years later. #Hokies— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) August 27, 2019
He did not transfer quickly enough. After his mom's initial tumor diagnosis.
We can't even get hung up on the fact that they're basically calling the Hoffmans liars again — because if she really was so sick, the statement implies, then why didn't he go be by her side then? — because we should really break down the logic of this statement.
In 2017, Brock Hoffman is a two-star offensive lineman whose best two scholarship offers come from Coastal Carolina and Georgia Southern. He heads down to play his freshman season for the Chanticleers just as his mom is diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Let's say he wants to stop there and immediately transfer somewhere to be closer to his family. Where's he going to go? This 18-year-old wants to play Division I college football, and he just barely made it happen. He's realizing a dream.
As a two-star guy, there's no school closer to home that will give him a scholarship. And since that's the only form of financial compensation offered by the NCAA, he's very obviously tethered to the university giving him a full ride. Because what's he going to do, give up a full scholarship as his family wracks up nearly a million dollars in medical bills?
No way. So what does he do instead?
He waits. And works. And plays. And studies. All while his mom has surgery, goes through recovery, and attempts to go back to her job as a teacher (again, medical bills).
And after two whole years of this, two years of hard work, pain, and adversity, what happened?
Hoffman did well enough in both the field and the classroom to earn a scholarship offer to an ACC institution.
One that not only put him closer to his family, but was the final validation that all of his hard work and sacrifice was worth it. A former two-star player who decided between offers from Coastal Carolina and Georgia Southern worked his ass off to play amongst college football's elite.
Isn't Hoffman's story often a model of what the NCAA strives to represent? A hardworking student athlete who not only achieves his goals on multiple levels, but is still an upstanding son who wants to help take care of his mom.
That's a Tom Rinaldi College GameDay segment if I've ever heard one.
Instead, the NCAA would just rather not talk about it.