How Is QB Taulia Tagovailoa Still Eligible?

    Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa has entered the transfer portal. However, he will need to apply for a waiver to continue his college football career.

    Maryland Terrapins QB Taulia Tagovailoa has become the latest college football quarterback to enter the transfer portal, but the circumstances around his eligibility have left questions.

    Having started at Alabama before transferring to Maryland in 2020, Tagovailoa has already played five seasons in college football. This means the quarterback should have exhausted his eligibility. However, Tagovailoa hopes to persuade the NCAA to let him play another season in college football.

    Taulia Tagovailoa Enters the Transfer Portal

    News emerged on January 5, 2024, that Tagovailoa had officially entered the transfer portal, putting ongoing rumors about his future to bed. It had long been speculated that Tagovailoa could enter the transfer portal with him opting out of the Music City Bowl game.

    Tagovailoa has been extremely productive since transferring to Maryland, throwing for 955 completions from 1,424 attempts, 11,256 yards, 76 touchdowns, and 37 interceptions across the four seasons in College Park. He threw for over 3,000 yards in his last three seasons.

    Maryland head coach Mike Locksley spoke to 105.7 “The Fan” before the Terps beat Auburn 31-13 in the Music City Bowl, saying, “[Tagovailoa] came to sit down, and he made the decision that he didn’t want to play in the bowl game in an effort to pursue future opportunities, whether it be the NFL, whether it be transferring if in fact there were more time available.”

    Locksley’s comments hinted that Tagovailoa would enter the transfer portal but also previewed that there could be further eligibility available to the QB when it was suspected there wouldn’t be.

    Could The NCAA Grant Tagovailoa the Waiver?

    For Tagovailoa to be eligible to play college football in 2024, he will need to apply to the NCAA for a waiver. He would need to apply for a waiver under the graduate transfer rules that state transfers must “graduate from your current college/university” or “have at least one year of eligibility on your five-year clock.”

    The problem for Tagovailoa is that he has used up his five years of eligibility over his college career, including the additional year granted because of the pandemic. In fact, if Tagovailoa is to be granted the waiver, he would have to do so under the redshirt rules.

    MORE: College Football Transfer Portal Tracker

    Tagovailoa is requesting that his freshman season in 2019, when he was at Alabama, shouldn’t count towards his eligibility. To class as a redshirt season students in Division I football can only compete in “up to four games against other schools and keep their redshirt status.”

    In 2019, Tagovailoa competed in five games, making this situation extremely difficult. 247 Sports is reporting that the application for waiver revolves around the 2019 season, where “Tagovailoa twice played just two snaps in his appearances.” The quarterback had nine completions, 100 yards, and one passing TD in 2019.

    However, one school told Chris Hummer from 247 Sports that they believe Tagovailoa is unlikely to be granted the waiver. There is no precedent for this in the history of college football.

    In a phone interview with ESPN, Tagovailoa informed Pete Thamel that the waiver requiest was filed on Thursday and that he is “unsure of the status.” Tagovailoa said “It’s with the NCAA right now. We’re all just a waiting game on seeing if it gets approved or not.”

    If the NCAA grants Tagovailoa the waiver, Miami is expected to be the leading landing spot. Tagovailoa would be in the same city as his brother, the Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa.

    Whereas, if Tagovailoa’s waiver isn’t cleared, he will need to chance his luck in the 2024 NFL Draft.

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football’s transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

    College Football Transfer Portal Tracker

    Never miss a beat with the CFN-exclusive College Football Transfer Portal Tracker, listing the student-athletes entering and exiting the transfer portal.

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