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Kentucky fans shouldn’t worry about Olivier Sarr’s eligibility… Not yet

Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky fans are anxiously awaiting Olivier Sarr news, and for good reason. The Wake Forest transfer averaged 13.7 points, nine rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game for the Demon Deacons last season, received all-ACC honors and is being touted as the linchpin for UK’s Final Four hopes and dreams this season. He’s the last real, remaining question mark for Kentucky’s 2020-21 roster.

But he’s not the only remaining question mark in college basketball. And Kentucky isn’t the only program waiting for a decision from the NCAA, either. Not even close.

Minnesota still doesn’t know about Liam Robbins or Both Gach. Memphis doesn’t know about Landers Nolley or DeAndre Williams (yes, the Evansville transfer who was, at one point, considering Kentucky as a new landing spot). Iowa State doesn’t know whether or not Blake Hinson or Tyler Harris will be able to suit up for the team this season. Texas Tech is also waiting on not one, but two decisions from the NCAA: Mac McClung and Jamarius Burton are both still question marks themselves.

Here’s the other thing: four of those eight players committed to their “new” schools before Olivier Sarr signed on the dotted line for Kentucky. The NCAA isn’t always reasonable, but it would be plausible to expect those players will hear their fate before Sarr hears his own.

But what about all of the players who have been ruled eligible? In the last week, five college basketball players have received notice of their approved waivers by the NCAA. All five committed to their new schools before Olivier Sarr announced he’d be transferring to UK.

Ian Steere will play for UNC-Wilmington this year. He announced that commitment on March 30, and he was ruled immediately eligible on July 27.

Aanen Moody will be immediately eligible for Southern Utah this season. He signed with the school on April 13 and heard the good news from the NCAA on July 28.

Alonde LeGrand also got good news that day. He committed to North Florida on April 29 and received his waiver on July 28.

Rodney Howard? One day later. The former Georgia Bulldog will be able to suit up for in-state rival Georgia Tech this season. He committed to Tech on March 24 and was ruled immediately eligible on July 29.

Finally, Brandon Knapper. He’s coming to the Bluegrass this season to play for Eastern Kentucky. He signed with the Colonels on April 10 and received his waiver on July 30.

What do these five young men have in common, other than their ability to play for a new team this season? The more-specific common thread actually comes in the timeline itself – each of these players and their respective programs waited three months for a decision from the NCAA. In fact, only LeGrand got a decision sooner than that three-month threshold – he waited for two months and 29 days.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Johnny Juzang, oddly enough, was granted immediate eligibility in a little over a month’s time. He signed with UCLA on April 16 and received his waiver on May 27.

Back to Olivier Sarr. The big man committed to the Wildcats on May 6. That means Kentucky is still a few days shy of reaching that typical (Juzang excluded) three-month mark that means a decision should be here shortly. It’s expected Kentucky applied for a waiver not long after Sarr made things official – they could have even had the paperwork ready to go by the time Sarr publicly announced his decision to join the BBN. Either way, it couldn’t have taken long.

August 6 is the date I’m circling on my calendar. That’s not because I have scoop; I don’t have any “insider information” coming from within the NCAA. However, I can see a pattern, and I know he announced his commitment on May 6.

When your fandom revolves around one specific athletics department and the players competing for that singular program, it’s easy to be frustrated. It’s understandable.

What’s taking them so long? Why haven’t we heard anything yet? Can he play or not? Why does the NCAA hate us?

But don’t forget about Minnesota. Don’t forget about Iowa State. Don’t forget about Memphis or Texas Tech. The list of players and programs I mentioned at the start of this article isn’t even totally inclusive – there are others who are waiting on decisions, too. There’s also Tyrese Martin for UConn, Alan Griffin for Syracuse, LJ Figueroa at Oregon… 247Sports compiled a list of traditional (non-graduate) transfers here, and many of them are still hoping for immediate eligibility. Of course, this is just for men’s basketball. Women’s programs are waiting on decisions, too.

This could have all been avoided – it could have been so simple! – if the NCAA had approved the one-time transfer eligibility rule for this season, rather than tabling the discussion (and subsequent vote) for the 2021-22 school year. But they didn’t, and so it isn’t.

There are a lot of question marks remaining in college basketball this year. Olivier Sarr is a huge one. To be fair, so is the coronavirus. But don’t get too antsy just yet. At least wait until August 6.

Article written by Maggie Davis

I love sports, podcasts, long walks on the beach and Twitter (@MaggieDavisKSR)

11 Comments for Kentucky fans shouldn’t worry about Olivier Sarr’s eligibility… Not yet

  1. light my fire
    1:40 am August 3, 2020 Permalink

    Dump the NCAA and create own league with other conferences, would make more money

  2. Irish son
    8:32 am August 3, 2020 Permalink

    Hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think he will ever play here. This just don’t pass the smell test. So many others have already been Ok’d

    • WILDCATS1968
      1:27 pm August 3, 2020 Permalink

      Did you not read ? The ones that have been cleared committed to their teams BEFORE Sarr did so for UK. It has average taking 3 MONTHS to get cleared. Three months is around August 6th for Sarr. What part of “the ones cleared, committed before Sarr did” and “it on average is taking 3 months to get cleared’ ? Or just make up you own story and go with “The NCAA hates us” and “they are putting UK off”, when in fact they are taking the same amount of time as other transfers. Also, there are several other players waiting to hear back, not JUST Sarr.

  3. satcheluk
    9:21 am August 3, 2020 Permalink

    Maybe I’m unique, but with everything going on with pandemic and the fact that everything is so fluid, I just can’t get interested/concerned about any of this right now. Speculation on anything is so tenuous about even playing the season seems less than 50%. 100% of my mental bandwidth and emotional energy is focused on keeping my family safe and worrying about the lack of national leadership that has allowed us to bare the brunt of this international pandemic. Unless, we as a society, quit being divided by political loyalties and keep ignoring the science, then we will not be playing college sports. I know the majority of UK fans probably voted for the loon running our country for the next few months, but if you want to see our team play, then wear a freaking mask and quit going out to congregate. If you refuse to do that, because of your “freedoms”, then your freedoms are taking away our ability to watch the sports we love.

    • T-Town Cat
      12:04 pm August 3, 2020 Permalink

      You can’t get interested, but you took the time to write a 150-word comment!?

    • dcarlinf1
      5:39 pm August 3, 2020 Permalink

      Which side were you on, on January 30th, when Trump’s ban on travel from China went in to effect? Did you support the ban or did you support Joe Biden calling Trump xenophobic?

    • nocode96
      7:45 pm August 3, 2020 Permalink

      Who’s side were you on when less than a month ago trump called this a “democrat hoax” and held rallies that ultimately killed a big name in republican country? Goes both ways. What side are you on not that every country in the world has a travel ban on US citizens because of trump’s failed plan against this?

  4. Basteballer
    10:24 am August 3, 2020 Permalink

    Not antsy at all. But mainly because I don’t believe there will be a basketball season.

  5. T-Town Cat
    12:03 pm August 3, 2020 Permalink

    Nice information, Maggie. Have you heard of ANY transfer requests that have been denied?

  6. Dr. Tom
    12:55 pm August 3, 2020 Permalink

    Love your posts Maggie. I appreciate your insightful writing and particularly that you don’t include the words hell, damn, etc. used by other KSR writers!! You have been a great addition to KSR and I’m sure will be leaving soon to bigger and better gigs (SEC Network??). Good luck on your next stop!!

  7. BigBluSoTru
    1:52 pm August 3, 2020 Permalink

    KSR keeps reporting on transfers that were approved their are just as many that havent been approved also. If your going to keep reporting on this show both sides . Another thing Sarr stated it was baout his NBA opportunity well that decision is in question because he dod have that opportunity ad with the Ncaa you dont know how they are weighing that situation.