NCAA Alters Hardship Waiver Guidelines in Wake of Kerwin Okoro Ruling

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 05:  Fans stand next to a giant NCAA logo outside of the stadium on the practice day prior to the NCAA Men's Final Four at the Georgia Dome on April 5, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The NCAA has officially changed its rules regarding the transfer of student-athletes under hardship circumstances. The rule change comes as a result of the Kerwin Okoro ruling in August.'s Gary Parrish broke news of the NCAA's move on Monday. Student-athletes will now be able to instantly transfer following the death of an immediate family member. In addition, that student-athlete won't have to wait the usual one year in order to become eligible.

Kevin Lennon, the NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs, went a little more in depth about the changes, per Parrish.

The committee, when they reexamined this as a part of their regular review of the directives and the guidelines, made a revision and then said, 'OK, staff. In this kind of an instance, moving forward, we're going to establish a new guideline for you to approve these. And that's what happened. ... This is an instance where the committee, in its authority as a membership body, said 'We now want you to look at these kinds of cases differently.' ... So if somebody transfers after the death of an immediate family member, now the staff is armed with guidelines from the committee that says, 'We want you to look at this differently.' That's the guideline moving forward.

As previously mentioned, the switch came after Okoro was granted a waiver to play for Rutgers. The sophomore guard wanted to move closer to his mother following the deaths of his brother and father, but he was initially denied.   

However, the NCAA backtracked on its initial decision and ultimately allowed Okoro to move from Iowa State to Rutgers and receive immediate eligibility.

There were plenty of critics of the decision, and it seems a lot of that outcry led to the NCAA reversing its ruling. Among many others, Dick Vitale was one of those strongly pushing the organization to switch its stance on Okoro and was happy to see the player receive his transfer to Rutgers.

For an organization that has been under fire at almost every opportunity, the NCAA should at least get credit for seeing the fault in its previous ruling about Okoro, and then doing something to make sure that doesn't happen again.