Miami QB Tate Martell is eligible to play in 2019

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Tate Martell will be eligible to play in 2019 after transferring to Miami from Ohio State. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)
Tate Martell will be eligible to play in 2019 after transferring to Miami from Ohio State. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)

Tate Martell won’t have to sit out the 2019 season.

Miami announced Tuesday that the Ohio State transfer had been granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA and would be able to play in 2019.

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"We are pleased with this ruling and appreciate the NCAA recognizing that this waiver met the criteria under the membership established guidelines," Miami athletic director Blake James said in a statement. "We would like to thank the NCAA, as well as Ohio State University, for their assistance and support throughout the waiver process. We look forward to seeing Tate compete for the Hurricanes this season."

Martell spent 2018 as OSU’s backup

Martell, who was Ohio State’s No. 2 quarterback behind Dwayne Haskins last season, transferred to Miami after former Georgia quarterback Justin Fields said he was transferring at the end of the season. Fields picked Ohio State and Martell decided it would be in his best interest to transfer.

The decision to transfer came after Martell initially made it seem like he was going to stay at Ohio State after Fields’ arrival. As rumors swirled surrounding Fields’ potential transfer to Columbus, Martell rhetorically asked reporters at the Rose Bowl why he would leave Ohio State “for someone who hasn’t put a single second into this program yet?”

On Jan. 10, news broke that Martell’s name was in the NCAA’s transfer database and was exploring a transfer. He’ll have three seasons of eligibility at Miami.

Fields was granted immediate eligibility at Ohio State as well. Without Martell on campus and Haskins off to the NFL, he’s the clear favorite to be the starter for the Buckeyes.

The case Martell’s lawyer made to the NCAA

Martell’s lawyer Travis Leach reportedly said in Martell’s appeal for immediate eligibility that the quarterback was no longer wanted by Ohio State when Fields committed to the team. That, coupled with Ohio State’s willingness to let Martell play right away at Miami — likely because Fields got immediate eligibility in Columbus — helped sway the NCAA.

From the Miami Herald:

Leach, according to a UM source, made the case that after landing quarterback Justin Fields from Georgia, Ohio State made no efforts to keep Martell. This argument carried weight with the NCAA.

After Ohio State landed Fields, the relationship between Martell and the Buckeyes obviously was impacted, and “no efforts were made by Ohio State to rectify the feelings between the two,” the source said. “Tate felt it was in his and Ohio State’s best interests to transfer.

Ohio State did not object to that or try to get him to change his mind.”

Barring a surprise, Martell should be Miami’s starter

Martell’s arrival in Miami comes as the Hurricanes are looking at a quarterback overhaul under new coach Manny Diaz. Malik Rosier was a senior in 2018 and N’Kosi Perry had a tumultuous 2018 season. Perry didn’t play in the Pinstripe Bowl loss to Wisconsin after he posted a sexually explicit video to social media.

That came after a video posted to social media earlier in the season where he was in a car with a large sum of cash.

Perry is back with the Hurricanes for 2019. But it’s easy to believe the team wouldn’t have pursued Martell if it wasn’t looking for an upgrade at the position. The school said Monday that quarterback Cade Weldon was transferring.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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