It was reported yesterday that former Louisville forward Rakeem Buckles was denied a waiver from the NCAA and will not be allowed play for Minnesota this season. Buckles transferred to FIU following the 2012 season and sat out this past year due to both the NCAA’s transfer rule and he was rehabbing his second torn ACL.
In early April, Richard Pitino left FIU after just one season to take the head coaching job at Minnesota. Shortly after Pitino’s departure, it was announced that FIU will not be able to compete in the post-season in 2014, due to APR issues with the NCAA. This led to Buckles following Richard Pitino to Minnesota where he was expected to receive a waiver, due to FIU’s post season ban. Unfortunately, the NCAA decided against that and Rick Pitino isn’t happy about it.
“I’m just blown away by it. It makes no sense. It’s amazing the NCAA can do this,” Pitino told Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. “He’s a model student-athlete who had a 3.2 GPA when he left Louisville. He just wants a chance to play in another NCAA tournament.”
Buckles is expected to appeal the NCAA’s decision. Unfortunately, if the decision isn’t reversed, he will be forced to return to FIU where he’ll be a walk-on, because the school doesn’t have any available scholarships.
“He had no idea that the program wouldn’t be able to play in the NCAA tournament when he transferred to FIU,” Rick Pitino said. “This is a good kid who has dealt with plenty of adversity over his career. It’s completely unfair.”