Nebraska is renewing the fight for transfer quarterback Noah Vedral’s immediate eligibility in the wake of Tristan Gebbia’s decision to leave the program Monday.
Head coach Scott Frost noted on Tuesday’s Big Ten coaches teleconference that the school has considered pursuing a waiver for eligibility for a long time and made it sound as though that process is underway with Vedral.
“We’re working on it, that’s all I can say,” Frost said Tuesday. “I don’t know where it will land.”
Vedral, a Wahoo native, transferred to NU in January after spending his freshman season at Central Florida as McKenzie Milton's primary backup.
“When people are transferring most of the time right now it’s because they’re not going to play somewhere and they go somewhere else,” Frost said. “It’s hard to blame them, but it’s also hard to manage as a coach, not knowing even a week before a game who’s going to be on your team and who isn’t.
“We certainly would have managed the situation different had we known somebody was going to leave us right before the first game. We’ve had a couple of quarterbacks leave now and I’m sure they’re filing waivers for initial eligibility and immediate eligibilitym and Noah’s situation is no different. He wanted to be closer to his parents, had some things he wanted to get back for and he wasn’t going to play at (UCF) because of the kid they had.”
Earlier this month, Vedral said he met with NU coaches, and the group jointly decided that he would not file a waiver.
As it stands currently, sophomore walk-on Andrew Bunch is the primary backup to freshman Adrian Martinez, while Kearney Catholic freshman walk-on Matt Masker is No. 3.
“To have a true freshman walk-on from the LouPlatte Conference as our third-teamer is not where we thought we’d land, but Matt’s done some really good things,” Frost said. “Bunchy was getting equal reps with other guys and he was in the mix. … He wasn’t quite as good, but I think his play is going to pick up as soon as he gets some reps, but he’s an athletic kid with a good arm.
“We’ll keep fighting the fight, but we have to roll with what we have and have confidence in the kids that we have here.”
Gebbia withdrew from classes on Monday and on Tuesday morning the school confirmed he had been granted a release from his scholarship.
Frost said Tuesday that when Gebbia met with coaches Monday, “there was no changing his mind.”
“We want what’s best for him and he made the decision, I think, with his family on what was best for him, and we’re going to wish him the best.”
Junior cornerback Lamar Jackson, a close friend of Gebbia’s, said he didn’t think the quarterback’s decision was knee-jerk in nature.
"Even through the battle, through the spring, I'd asked him how he was doing and he'd say, 'I'm nervous, I'm nervous,’” Jackson told reporters Tuesday. “So I'm pretty sure this wasn't something that just happened. He probably kind of had this in his head."
Gebbia’s late decision to transfer — he’s the third quarterback to leave NU since late December — puts NU in a tough spot, Frost said. While schools on quarters systems could still add a player at this late in camp, the Huskers cannot because Tuesday is the add/drop date for classes at UNL.
“The NCAA is always worried about a level playing field, but this creates a distinct unfair advantage for teams whose schools are on quarters systems,” Frost said, adding he hopes that college football “doesn’t become transfer mania.”
“It’s going to get messy,” he admitted. “I wouldn’t want to be the one that has to decide exactly what the rule is, but it’s not fair to the rest of our team when we’re losing kids right before (the opener) that we’re counting on.”