The NCAA informed UTC on Thursday that transfer defensive tackle Chris Mayes will not be eligible to play this season. He will, however, be on scholarship and will have three years of eligibility remaining.
Mayes, who played as a true freshman at Navy last season, will redshirt this fall.
"I'm thankful that they allowed me to take the scholarship and this gives me another year to prepare and get better," he said after practice Thursday. "I'm going to come out here and it's still just like getting ready for a game, it's just that the game is further down the road. Plus I get to help the team get better."
When players transfer down from the Football Bowl Subdivision to the Championship Subdivision it's not automatic that they can get on scholarship and play right away. Certain stipulations have to be met, said Laura Herron, UTC's senior associate athletic director for compliance, and Mayes didn't meet all of them.
After a difficult year at Navy, the Murfreesboro native transferred to UTC this summer, in part to be closer to his mother, Gilda, who had been ill for a long time. UTC filed a waiver with the NCAA to have Mayes cleared to play, but it was denied.
On appeal, the NCAA did allow UTC to put Mayes on scholarship.
The Mocs coaches knew having Mayes available this fall was a long shot so they have limited his repetitions in practice in order to give other players more snaps.
"I know he was pretty crushed [by the ruling]," Mocs coach Russ Huesman said, "but I'm glad he's in the program, and I'm glad he's getting another start."