It took some time, but Kerwin Okoro got his waiver.
The Iowa State transfer will be eligible immediately to play at Rutgers. If you missed the controversy, Okoro lost both his brother (cancer) and his father last season. The New York City native transferred to get closer to home, but his waiver was initially denied by the NCAA.
This got national attention, and all of it negative. How is it possible that a sick family member could be considered enough of a hardship to earn immediate eligibility, but losing a father and a brother isn’t?
Well, the answer is that there simply wasn’t anything on the books that specifically said a player dealing with the death of a family member can be granted immediate eligibility if they choose to transfer closer to home. It’s a unique situation, and thanks to the amount of media attention the denial of a waiver garnered, it’s a misunderstanding that won’t happen again. From Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com:
the guidelines weren’t written in a way to allow waivers for cases like Okoro’s because his situation was obviously unique. The committee, Lennon said, realized this and has now recommended that the guideline be adjusted to take an immediate family member’s death into consideration. In other words, going forward, if a player applies for a waiver to transfer closer to home and play without sitting out a season after an immediate family member’s death, that waiver will be granted.
And Okoro isn’t the only player that has had a ruling overturned.
Drew Wilson, who started 18 games for Missouri State last season, transferred to Oral Roberts this spring to be closer to home after the death of his sister. His waiver for immediate eligibility was initially denied, but over the weekend, the NCAA announced that Wilson will be allowed to play for the Golden Eagles this year.
Transfers, and who is eligibile to play immediately, are controversial topics, but I think we can all agree that letting a kid return home without punishment after the death of a family member is the right course of action.