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Rick Pitino sounds off on NCAA denying Rakeem Buckles a waiver

Sep 1, 2013, 2:30 PM EDT

Rakeem Buckles

This summer has provided a number of interesting rules by the NCAA, and Louisville head coach voiced his opinion on Friday in the wake of one of the NCAA’s most recent head-scratching rulings.

Rakeem Buckles started his career at Louisville, but decided to follow Richard Pitino to the FIU, sat out the season, and then chose to go with Pitino to Minnesota. On Wednesday, Buckles, who has one year of eligibility remaining, had his waiver to play immediately was denied by the NCAA. This ruling is puzzling for two reasons: FIU is ineligible for postseason play due to APR issues from Isiah Thomas’ tenure as head coach. Also, this comes five weeks after FIU transfer Malik Smith was granted a waive to play right away at Minnesota.

When talking to Jeff Goodman of ESPN, Rick Pitino expressed his disbelief in the NCAA’s decision.

“I’m just blown away by it,” Pitino told Goodman. “It makes no sense. It’s amazing the NCAA can do this. 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] had no idea that the program wouldn’t be able to play in the NCAA tournament when he transferred to FIU. This is a good kid who has dealt with plenty of adversity over his career. It’s completely unfair.”

The 6-foot-7 Buckles has torn both his ACLs — right in February 2011, left in January 2012 — during his time in a Cardinal uniform. He would have seen considerable action on the Golden Gophers frontline.

The NCAA’s decision has since been appealed.

  1. dicklugar - Sep 1, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    The NCAA are a bunch of powerful thugs that rape atheletes of their returns to college. They made billions off TV contracts and make total bull s hit calls like this. I believe congress should investigate these b astards and give jail time to a number of the crooked sons of b itches. They has way too much power and no accountability.

    • mistertdog - Sep 1, 2013 at 3:51 PM

      Don’t just blame the NCAA. How about coaches like Phil Martelli at St. Joes. He tried to personally destroy a former player several years ago and St. Joes administrators watched along like the folks at Penn State. Maybe someone will listen to Pitino. Things are no fair for everyone

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