Father of OL Cade Mays suing Georgia for $3.5M after pinkie was severed and 'shot across the floor' at 2017 event

Liz Roscher
The father of soon-to-be former Georgia lineman Cade Mays had an ugly finger incident. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
The father of soon-to-be former Georgia lineman Cade Mays had an ugly finger incident. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

This isn’t something you hear about every day: The father of a soon-to-be former Georgia offensive lineman is suing the school for $3.5 million after he allegedly lost his pinkie finger during a mishap with a folding chair at a recruiting event in 2017.

The offensive lineman is Knoxville native Cade Mays, who recently entered the transfer portal and intends to transfer to Tennessee, according to ESPN.

The lawsuit, which was filed on Dec. 5 and obtained by the Knoxville News Sentinel, recalls the night of Dec. 15, 2017. Cade was at a recruiting event with his father and mother, Kevin and Melinda Mays, at the club level inside Georgia's Sanford Stadium. Kevin’s assigned seat for the event was in front of a support column, which restricted his movement. According to the lawsuit, when he tried to get up from his seat (which was a folding chair) the chair wasn’t able to move backward due to the column. The chair then folded up, trapping Kevin’s pinkie and severing it.

Pinkie ‘shot across the floor’

According to the documents obtained by the Knoxville News Sentinel, Kevin’s pinkie then “shot across the floor” and was retrieved by Sam Pittman, Georgia’s offensive line coach at the time. The finger was put on ice and Kevin Mays was taken to the hospital. Unfortunately, the pinkie could not be reattached, and he required an additional surgery and reported continuing pain.

In addition to Georgia’s athletic association and board of regents, Kevin and Melinda are also suing the company that designed and manufactured the chair and the furniture dealership that facilitated the purchase of the chairs with university.

The lawsuit was filed Dec. 5, or about a month before Mays said he was looking to leave Georgia. Isn’t it quite the coincidence that news about the suit emerged just as Mays had entered the transfer portal?

Tom Mars, the attorney who will represent Mays as he tries to obtain a transfer waiver, doesn’t believe it’s a coincidence at all. Via the Knoxville News Sentinel:

“The Mays family has never said a word to anyone about Kevin Mays’ lawsuit,” Mars wrote to Knox News. “The timing of the news stories about Mr. Mays’ lawsuit makes clear that UGA leaked this story to sports writers today after Cade delivered a letter to Kirby Smart late (Tuesday) explaining the reason he’s leaving Kirby’s program.

“In fact, one sports writer I spoke with earlier today confirmed that’s how he found out about the lawsuit. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that UGA is continuing to take the low road about the lawsuit, but in my opinion, directing sports writers to Mr. Mays’ lawsuit set a new record low for UGA Athletics.”

Georgia responded to Mars’ comments in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.

“Unlike Mr. Mars, we will not engage in a public discussion of a student eligibility matter, other than to wish the best for Cade and his family,” athletic director Greg McGarity said in a statement. “Although the Mays lawsuit is a public document available on the internet, no one at UGA was authorized to discuss it, we’re not aware of anyone who did so, and the reporter who broke the story of the lawsuit has stated that he was not notified by anyone at UGA.”

Mays is not required to reveal why he’s decided to transfer. Mars told the Knoxville News Sentinel that “of the thousands of college football fans who’ve speculated on social media why Cade decided to leave UGA, I haven’t seen a single comment that even comes close to the truth.” Kevin Mays played football at Tennessee and Cade Mays’ brother Cooper is an early enrollee at Tennessee.

Mars previously represented former Georgia QB Justin Fields in his transfer to Ohio State. Fields transferred from Georgia after the 2018 season and the NCAA let him play immediately with the Buckeyes in 2019.

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