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Sen. Marco Rubio asks NCAA president for 'second look' at Darrell Jackson Jr.'s hardship waiver

Florida State defensive tackle, who says he transferred from Miami to be near sick mom, not eligible to play this fall
Sen. Marco Rubio advocates for defensive tackle Darrell Jackson Jr.
Posted at 8:32 AM, Aug 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-10 08:55:36-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has sent a letter to the president of the NCAA, asking him to reconsider the denial of a hardship waiver request for a Florida State football player who sought to play right away after transferring from Miami to be closer to his ailing mother.

Rubio wrote a letter to NCAA President Charlie Baker in which he expressed his "disappointment" in the governing collegiate athletic organization's "decision to punish a young athlete who is putting his family first." The three-term senator shared a copy of the letter Wednesday on Twitter.

The letter was in support of Florida State defensive tackle Darrell Jackson Jr., who began his college career at Maryland and spent last season at Miami before transferring to the Tallahassee school.

"I came home for my mom," Jackson told reporters Tuesday after Florida State head coach Mike Norvell revealed that the waiver request seeking immediate eligibility had been denied by the NCAA.

Miami Hurricanes defensive tackle Darrell Jackson Jr. at media day, Aug. 2, 2022
Miami defensive tackle Darrell Jackson speaks with the news media at the team's media day, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, in Coral Gables, Fla.

Jackson's mother, who is ill, lives in Quincy, just outside of Tallahassee.

The NCAA allows Division I student-athletes to transfer one time without having to sit out a year.

"Unfortunately, Darrell is experiencing every family's worst nightmare," Rubio wrote. "A sick parent is tough on grown children. To have to go through this while still in college is especially difficult."

Rubio praised Jackson "for his decision to put family first and move home." He said denying the waiver request "sends a wrong message to young adults when confronted with family health."

"Darrell's hardship application deserves a second look," Rubio concluded. "If this is not what hardship waivers are for, then what is?"