The Kentucky Wildcats found their big-man Wednesday as 7-foot Wake Forest transfer Olivier Sarr announced he would be coming to Lexington next season.
Now, Sarr has to fight for instant eligibility to prevent sitting out the 2020-21 season. Sarr played three seasons at Wake Forest but has not yet graduated, which does not make him immediately eligible under current NCAA rules.
Despite this, there’s been an outpour of support for Sarr to receive a waiver to play next season due to how his time in Winston-Salem ended.
Sarr’s transfer comes after the Demon Deacons waited until late April to fire head coach Danny Manning and replace him with Steve Forbes. ESPN’s Seth Greenberg says that alone should grant him the waiver.
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
Dick Vitale also thinks Sarr should get a waiver to play next season.
Just had chat with @UKCoachCalipari about getting OLIVIER SARR from @WakeMBB . Now will the @NCAA grant a waiver so that he can play instantly @KentuckyMBB? To me all players on a team where there is a coaching change should be able to transfer & be eligible .— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) May 6, 2020
TJ Walker had a thread on Twitter that went through several previous eligibility cases that could bode well for Sarr being eligible next season.
Some media say Sarr won't be eligible because you don't get a waiver for your coach leaving, maybe (doubtful), but here's a long list of non-grad transfers who were instantly eligible, including several who left programs that had head coaches leave/fired.https://t.co/5xcXIDyFUK— Put It In Reverse Terry (@TJWalkerRadio) May 6, 2020
Rivals recruiting analyst Eric Bossi believes the NCAA may be more generous with eligibility waivers this year.
“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.”
Chris Fisher of the Cats Pause also pointed out a factor that should help Sarr’s case. According to a report, Manning talked Sarr out of putting his name in the NBA Draft with the idea of returning to play for him at Wake Forest. Shortly after, Manning lost his job after the deadline had passed for Sarr to test the NBA draft waters.
Not my area of expertise and not well-versed on NCAA precedent, but Olivier Sarr did say he was talked out of putting his name in the draft only to have his head coach fired just prior to the April 26 deadline. No clue whether this would make a difference in receiving a waiver. pic.twitter.com/0FseaCW82J— Chris Fisher (@ChrisFisher247) May 6, 2020
All of this should be enough to get Sarr the waiver but with the NCAA making the final call, no one will know for sure until they decide.