The NCAA has officially approved Olivier Sarr’s waiver, but the Kentucky center’s eligibility remains up in the air for the upcoming 2020-21 season.
As originally reported by ESPN commentator Dick Vitale on Tuesday evening, Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader has confirmed that the NCAA has signed off on Sarr’s waiver, leaving the final decision up to the SEC.
“The Herald-Leader independently confirmed [Vitale’s report] Wednesday morning,” Roberts reported. “The NCAA has indeed approved Sarr’s waiver request, but UK is now waiting on the Southeastern Conference to issue an additional waiver that would allow Sarr to bypass a transfer rule specific to the SEC.”
While the NCAA has approved Sarr’s waiver, SEC bylaw 14.1.15 states that student-athletes with less than two years of eligibility remaining must fulfill a residence requirement of one full academic year.
“A student-athlete who, upon enrollment at the certifying institution, has less than two years of eligibility remaining shall not be eligible for intercollegiate competition at a member institution until the student has fulfilled a residence requirement of one full academic year (two full semesters) at the certifying institution,” the official bylaw states.
While the official rule doesn’t seem to favor Sarr in this specific case – the former Wake Forest center has one year of eligibility remaining – it does go on to state that student-athletes may request a waiver for numerous circumstances.
“A member institution may request a waiver from the Conference office for a student-athlete transferring from an institution discontinuing a sport, provided that the student-athlete cannot complete his or her eligibility at the institution discontinuing the sport, or for a student-athlete transferring for the purpose of enrolling in an academic program not offered at the institution from which he or she is transferring,” the bylaw continues.
According to the Herald-Leader, UK has been given “no indication” as to when the SEC could make a final ruling.
Either way, the NCAA’s portion of the issue is no longer a concern. Now, Sarr’s fate is officially in the hands of SEC commissioner Greg Sankey.