Justin Fields gets waiver to play immediately for Ohio State

FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018 file photo, Georgia quarterback Justin Fields tries to escape from Georgia Tech linebacker Victor Alexander. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Quarterback Justin Fields has been granted a waiver that will allow him to play immediately for Ohio State after transferring from Georgia.

The former five-star recruit transferred to the Buckeyes after he got stuck behind Jake Fromm on Georgia's depth chart.

Ohio State announced Friday that the NCAA has approved Fields' request for a waiver of the rule requiring transfers to sit out a year. Fields is expected to compete for the starting quarterback spot after Dwayne Haskins Jr. left early to enter the NFL draft.

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Fields was the target of a racial slur from a Georgia baseball player during a football game in September, and there was speculation the incident would become part of his appeal for a waiver. The NCAA can grant immediate eligibility to a transferring player who has "documented mitigating circumstances that are outside the student-athlete's control and directly impact the health, safety and well-being of the student-athlete."

In a statement issued by Ohio State on Friday, Fields said speculation about his transfer "took on a life of its own."

"I have no regrets about my time at UGA and have no hard feelings for the school or football program," Fields said. "My overall experience at UGA was fully consistent with UGA's commitment to diversity and inclusion."

He said he would not make any further comments about his transfer and looks forward to preparing for the season.

"I am happy for Justin and his family," Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. "I also want to express my appreciation to the NCAA for its assistance in getting this matter resolved efficiently and with such a positive outcome for Justin."

Statement from Justin Fields

I thank God for His guidance during this time of uncertainty. I would like to thank the NCAA for its approval of the waiver allowing me to be eligible to play football this fall. I also want to thank all those who supported and encouraged my family and me during this process. While my case was pending before the NCAA, my family and I did not feel that it was appropriate to publicly speak about the circumstances leading to my transfer. In my silence, people began to speculate, and the story took on a life of its own.

Now that this matter is concluded, I would like to clarify some facts. I have no regrets about my time at UGA and have no hard feelings for the school or football program. My overall experience at UGA was fully consistent with UGA’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. My sister is a softball player at UGA. I am still close friends with many of my UGA teammates. A part of me will always be a Georgia Bulldogs fan.

To Buckeye Nation: thank you for your warm welcome. I will work hard to represent you and The Ohio State University in a professional and respectful manner. My dad always tells me that “you can’t get to where you are going by looking in the 'rear view mirror.'” I’m ready to move forward and embrace the next season of my life.

I will not be speaking about my transfer again. Instead, I will focus all of my attention on getting to work in the classroom and on the field – and doing whatever else I can to help my teammates as we prepare for the 2019 season.

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