Hinesville, GA (WTVM) - Georgia recruit Chester Brown decommitted from UGA this week for what he's calling personal reasons. But, a new Georgia Board of Regents policy may be to blame.
The three-star offensive lineman from Hinesville originally committed to Georgia back in July, and reportedly had the date of his commitment tattooed on his arm.
Brown's principal at Bradwell Institute, Scott Carrier, said an "immigration related issue" is keeping Brown from the Bulldogs. Brown is the son of Samoan immigrants who moved to the United States in the mid-1990's. Brown's mother insists he was born in the U.S., which would make him a citizen, but documentation is not clear.
"I'll tell you, Coach Ball and Coach Richt have worked their butts off to try to get me in and things didn't work out," Brown said. "When they broke the news to me it was devastating."
The new policy, adopted in October 2010 states: "A person who is not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible for admission to any University System institution which, for the two most recent academic years, did not admit all academically qualified applicants (except for cases in which applicants were rejected for non-academic reasons)."
Carrier said he is seeking counsel of an immigration attorney and lawyers in Atlanta have offered their services pro bono to help Brown get into Georgia. If an appeal is granted, Brown could recommit to UGA but he said that wouldn't be fair to any school who he now commits to.
"I still have love for the Georgia family but all these colleges are trying their hardest to get me in. It would just be so unfair from them to come and try to recruit me and recruit me this long period and me turn around and recommitting. I'm not saying I'm not going to recommit, but I just have to keep an open mind."
Brown has to now start the recruiting process over. Schools that have already shown an interest include Central Florida, Tulane and Syracuse. But, Brown with so little time to pick another school, Brown has decided not to sign a National Letter of Intent on the February 1st signing day.