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Report: Rakeem Buckles’ appeal for a waiver at Minnesota denied

Sep 3, 2013, 12:22 PM EDT

Rakeem Buckles

Last week, Rakeem Buckles was denied a waiver by the NCAA that would have allowed the Florida International transfer to play immediately at Minnesota this season.

On Tuesday, Buckles’ appeal was also denied, meaning that the former Louisville forward will be forced to return to Florida International to use his final season of eligibility, which will give critics of the decision-makers at NCAA offices even more ammo in the seemingly-endless assault on the organization’s credibility recently.

Consistency and compassion are two things that the NCAA seems to completely lack.

Buckles has had been plagued by the bad luck of the injury bug throughout his career, as he dealt with a torn ACL in each knee, a concussion, and a spiral fracture of a finger during his three seasons with the Cardinals. He transferred to FIU after the 2011-2012 season, following Richard Pitino when he was named head coach, and sat out last year to rehab from his second torn ACL.

When Pitino was named head coach at Minnesota, Buckles made the decision to once again follow his coach, and given the circumstances, it seemed a formality that Buckles would get a waiver to play immediately.

FIU is banned from postseason play in 2013-2014 due to APR issues stemming back to the Isiah Thomas era. Another FIU player, JuCo transfer Malik Smith, was granted a waiver by the NCAA to play immediately at Minnesota since he only had one year of eligibility remaining; the NCAA will generally grant a waiver is a player’s remaining eligibility would be played under a postseason ban at his current school.

But Buckles’ bad luck continued, as he will not be able to go to Minnesota and continue his basketball career. He had already signed a Big Ten tender and been admitted to Minnesota, but since Buckles five-year clock expires after the 2013-2014 season, sitting out a year would mean that he’s unable to use his fourth year of eligibility.

“I’m just blown away by it,” Louisville head coach Rick Pitino told ESPN.com after Buckles’ waiver was denied. “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.”

  1. eagles512 - Sep 3, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    Once again, the NCAA proves to be a joke

  2. annapterp - Sep 3, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    The ncaa has zero credibility. A sham of an organization.

  3. oruacat2 - Sep 3, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    Question: during the season at FIU when Buckles sat-out (due to transfer and to rehab his injury) – was he on scholarship? This is, did FIU pay for him to attend school during that “sit out” year?

  4. northstarnic - Sep 4, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    NCAA masquerades as an organization built around helping and supporting the student athlete. In fact it exists to abuse and take advantage of young people, and makes a ton of money in the process.

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