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Wisconsin Football Transfer Getting Screwed by the NCAA



Wisconsin football; Badgers head coach Luke Fickell talking to the defense
Sep 2, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell talks in a huddle during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bulls at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

When Luke Fickell and the Wisconsin football coaching staff added Air Force cornerback Mike Mack II through the transfer portal right before fall camp, the Badgers felt much better about the state of the secondary.

“Competition,” Mack told BadgerNotes regarding why he chose Wisconsin. “The staff has proven they know how to win, and I come from a winning program. The program itself has deep roots and the capabilities of challenging me in multi-dimensional aspects.”

UW thought the overhaul of the cornerback room following spring practice was complete after adding experienced players like Mack and Nyzier Fourqurean to help complement the starting trio of Alexander SmithRicardo Hallman, and Jason Maitre.

But the NCAA’s recent decision to deny Mack’s waiver for immediate eligibility changed the Badgers cornerback room dynamic completely.

In the season opener against Buffalo, Wisconsin rotated just four cornerbacks — which isn’t likely going to be sustainable throughout an entire season. That’s why the Wisconsin football coaching staff is appealing the NCAA’s decision — because Mack would, in theory, be the next man up.

Wisconsin Football Head Coach Luke Fickell Isn’t Pleased With the Ruling

When Luke Fickell met with the media on Monday (you can watch the press conference on YouTube), he acknowledged the Badgers were going through the appeal process — and made it clear he’s not happy — but it’s not the NCAA he’s mad at specifically.

“I’m going to kinda hold my tongue to say anything about the Air Force Academy and how they’ve treated the kid, in my opinion,” Wisconsin football HC Luke Fickell said. “But we’ll wait on the NCAA…it’s in their hands.”

These comments were pretty telling. My interpretation of Coach Fickell’s comments is that the Air Force is acting like a bitter ex-girlfriend — and trying to prevent Mike Mack from being granted immediate eligibility because there are rules about cadets transferring without penalty — and the transfer portal has only made their lives more difficult. Mack’s chances of playing this season diminish with every passing day without compliance from his former school.

Mack, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound cornerback, was a pre-season All-Mountain West selection with 20 career games under his belt for the Air Force Academy. During his career, Mack has registered 69 tackles, four pass deflections, 2.5 TFLs, and an interception.

The hope is that the NCAA can right this wrong and grant Mack immediate eligibility, giving Wisconsin football some much-needed, playable depth at cornerback.

It will be an intriguing situation to monitor, but in the meantime — it’s time we start the movement: FREE MIKE MACK II.

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Dillon Graff is a Substack Newsletter Best Selling Author and the Owner of, your go-to source for in-depth coverage of the Wisconsin Badgers. His work has been featured in top media publications like USA Today, Bleacher Report, Verbal Commits, B5Q, Saturday Blitz, and Fansided.