Former Iowa State guard Kerwin Okoro transferred to Rutgers this offseason following the deaths of his brother and father, but he has been denied a hardship waiver from the NCAA to begin play during the upcoming season, according Nick Creegan of Fox Sports.
Okoro wanted to move closer to home in order to help support his mother, and he planned to begin his sophomore season with the Scarlet Knights in 2013-14. According to Creegan, however, the hardship waiver relates only to caring for a sick family member, and deaths in the family apparently don't fall under the rule.
ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas has taken aim at the NCAA in recent weeks, so it comes as no surprise that he added his thoughts. Bilas seemed disgusted by the ruling as he chastised the NCAA on Twitter:
So, if your dad gets fired, you can transfer, play right away. But, if your dad dies, tough. Really, NCAA?! Really?! http://t.co/GzsRkC7lRh— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) August 21, 2013
According to Zach Braziller of the New York Post, Rutgers plans to appeal the ruling. Okoro played sparingly with the Cyclones last year, averaging just one point per game, though he was expected to have an expanded role with Rutgers as there are currently only 11 players on the Scarlet Knights roster.
While Okoro is justifiably upset about the decision, he decided that discretion is the better part of valor as he refrained from admonishing the NCAA on social media.
I'll make the wise decision of staying off social networks today,cause if I express my feelings right now, I might just say the wrong thing— Nkereuwem Okoro (@The_KO_Campaign) August 20, 2013
With the NCAA receiving a lot of negative publicity as of late, perhaps this wasn't the best ruling on its part. While Okoro's situation may not be exactly by the book in terms of the hardship waiver, it isn't as if he is trying to pull a fast one.
It will be interesting to see if those who hear Rutgers' appeal feel the same way.
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