Ole Miss' first game of the 2020 season against No. 5 Florida is on the horizon and safety Otis Reese has not yet been given immediate eligibility, according to a social media post on his Twitter account. To expedite the process, Reese is going public with some serious accusations about his time at Georgia.
In an open letter to the NCAA, the SEC and commissioner Greg Sankey, Reese, who transferred to Ole Miss at the beginning of the year, says he "learned recently that UGA has opposed my waiver which is unfortunate considering what I was told when I attempted to leave last year."
In the letter, Reese said that being at Georgia took a "devastating mental toll" on him. He cited local police harassment on two occasions as well as public acts of racism against him and his friends.
"One of my closest friends and teammates was called a n----- by a white student-athlete," Reese said. "Another group of white classmates mocked slavery and pretended to whip each other. These were two very public events."
He added that none of the incidents were addressed by the team's coaching staff. "From my first moments I stepped on campus, it was not what I expected," Reese wrote. "The racist events that I kept experiencing weighed on me heavily and seemed never-ending."
He also claims he was manipulated by Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart to play a full season to receive immediate eligibility if he transferred. According to Reese, Smart told him that if he "finished the season and not 'let my team down'" his request to transfer and receive immediate eligibility would be supported. Reese appeared in 14 games for Georgia last season, recording three tackles.
Another former Georgia player, Cade Mays, transferred to Tennessee while levying concerns about a "toxic environment" in Athens and was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA last week. He still awaits a ruling from the SEC to be fully cleared.
"All I am asking for is what is fair and be given the opportunity to take the field this season with my brothers," Reese wrote.
In response, Georgia issued the following statement: "We cannot comment on student-athlete eligibility matters due to federal privacy laws, but we would be happy to share our full response to Otis Reese's waiver request, if he provides a signed release allowing us to do so. UGA disputes any suggestion that it maintains an unsafe, unsupportive, or racially insensitive environment."
Reese is a junior this season. The NCAA previously announced that it would grant an extra year of eligibility to players as a result of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.