Wake Forest big man Olivier Sarr has committed to Kentucky. Now, the question becomes, will the NCAA grant his waiver for immediate eligibility, or make him sit out a season?
As of now, it looks like the NCAA will not pass the one-time transfer rule this year, but Sarr has a pretty good case for a waiver. When Sarr was considering testing the NBA Draft waters in April, the school told him Danny Manning would return and Manning himself talked Sarr into coming back for another season instead of going pro.
“I wanted to test the [NBA draft] waters,” Sarr told ESPN last week. “I requested the UAC [Undergraduate Advisory Committee]. I tried to test the waters, then I had a conversation with Coach and he convinced me to stay and get my degree. He had plans for me, I was going to do great things in the ACC, with the team and individually, of course. It was late April, Coach was going to stay. Then, 24-48 hours before the [draft] deadline, Coach got fired. I didn’t get the chance to put my name in and change my mind.”
Sarr told ESPN he has too many credits remaining to become a grad transfer and that if his waiver isn’t accepted, he will pursue professional options instead of sitting out. Also, while it seems like the NCAA grants waivers for almost any reason these days (why did Jemarl Baker get one again?), they are surprisingly stingy when it comes to granting them for players who have gone through a coaching change. Sarr may need Wake’s help on this, too. Schools have to sign off on a player’s release for the NCAA to consider their waiver. John Calipari regularly does this, but given Steve Forbes’ comments about Kentucky yesterday, will he cooperate or dig in his heels to make a point?
Former college coach and ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg voiced his support for Sarr’s case and implored Wake Forest to do the right thing.
Olivier Sarr should be eligible immediately.Have alway felt when a school makes a coaching change players should have the opportunity to transfer. Especially in Wake situation where they made the change so late in the process.The WFU administration should support his appeal.
— Seth Greenberg (@SethOnHoops) May 6, 2020
Rivals’ Eric Bossi believes the NCAA will be generous considering the move towards the one-time transfer rule.
“From speaking to many college coaches, there is a thought that the NCAA is simply tired of ruling on transfer waivers (which is why they want a rule change passed) and may just elect to green light any reasonable waiver request,” he wrote today.