Fuente disappointed in Hoffman decision

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Blacksburg, VA(WFXR) – The NCAA notified Tech Athletics last Tuesday that it had denied offensive lineman Brock Hoffman’s appeal to be eligible immediately after transferring from Coastal Carolina. The appeal centered on Hoffman’s desire to be closer to his Statesville, North Carolina home so that he could be closer to his ailing mother, who underwent surgery for a non-cancerous brain tumor in December of 2017. His mother continues to suffer health related issues from the surgery.

Fuente had not been publicly interviewed about the NCAA decision, but gave his thoughts after asked about it Monday.

“At the risk of sounding like a guy who is up here complaining, I’m going to try not to do that,” he said. “You look at Brock and his family and what they’ve been through and how they’ve handled the situation they’re in, I think it’s admirable. He is a kid who did not quit on this football team. He did not leave them in the middle of the year. He did not leave them right at the beginning of the year when some people have. In my estimation, he went about this the right way and was penalized for it, and I think that’s unfortunate.

“This is a young man that stuck with his team, that tried to make it work, that tried to go do things, that tried to commute, that tried to not leave his guys and ultimately was penalized for that, but I think we can learn a lot from Brock. I really do. Things didn’t go Brock’s way, and you know what he did? He showed up and he went down there and ran the scout team, and he busted his tail doing that. He had to lift with our developmental group. You know what he did? He led that freshman group in their developmental lift. This is a guy that doesn’t let other people determine his attitude and his effort, and I think that’s admirable. I think we could all learn a lesson from Brock, and I’m not lecturing everyone else. I’m just admiring the young man.”

Fuente expressed both disappointment and frustration in the appeals process, which essentially took all summer and left Hoffman wondering about his status until four days before the opener. He was careful not to let the news conference become a complaining session about the NCAA, preferring instead to encourage all sides – NCAA officials, ADs, players and coaches – to come up with ways to improve the system.

“As I tell our coaches all the time, it doesn’t take anyone to point out the problems,” Fuente said. “It takes somebody with some intelligence and thought to create some solutions. Standing around, and for lack of a better term, bitching about the problem does us no good. Finding ways to create solutions is the answer.

“There have been some good suggestions that, I think, merit conversations. You all would probably be surprised to hear my thoughts – I’m not going to give them to you now – but you would probably be surprised to hear my thoughts on the amateur model. They’re probably different than what you think it is, but I do think it would be wise to get people generally invested in the best interests of collegiate sports and these kids together to try to find an amicable solution to our model, and transfer policy, waiver policy, is just one of them. That’s easier said than done.”

Hoffman will sit out this season essentially as a redshirt, and he’ll have two years of eligibility remaining.

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