The Kentucky Wildcats are still awaiting a ruling on basketball center Olivier Sarr and football QB Joey Gatewood.
It’s been several months since Kentucky applied for a transfer waiver to get Sarr and Gatewood eligible for next season. The NCAA has already handed out a bevy of waivers to other players for different schools, so one would think a ruling could come soon for both players.
Well, there may be a new complication that could slow this process. The NCAA is reportedly going to furlough its entire Indianapolis-based staff starting Sept. 21. Indianapolis is where the main NCAA headquarters is, and the furlough will involve about 600 employees that lasts anywhere from 3-8 weeks, so it will be November before everyone is back to work.
This could obviously prove troublesome for any college athlete who’s not received a waiver from the NCAA by Sept. 21, though the report states, “The furloughs will not affect senior executives.” I doubt the NCAA is going to furlough everyone who handles waiver requests, but if nothing else, this could greatly slow the process it takes for eligibility rulings to be made, which could be bad news for Sarr and Gatewood.
Or, it could end up being a good thing. Because there are three weeks until the furloughs begin, this could lead to the NCAA speeding up the process to get as many rulings in before furloughing begins.
In fact, over the last week, the NCAA has handed out waivers to two of the biggest traditional transfers in Memphis forward Landers Nolley and Minnesota forward Liam Robbins. Both were two of the top 10 traditional transfers this offseason, and both have received waivers recently after Robbins got his waiver today.
Seeing as how the SEC football season begins Sept. 26, the NCAA will hopefully have a decision on Gatewood before the furloughs begin.
While it would be nice to get Sarr eligible as soon as possible, his case isn’t as urgent since the college hoops season won’t begin until late November. But hopefully the NCAA won’t use that as an excuse to take several more months to rule on Sarr. He’s waited long enough.
We also can’t forget about UK Hoops’ trio of transfers in Maryland forward Olivia Owens, Tennessee guard Jazmine Massengill, and Auburn guard Robyn Benton. Matthew Mitchell’s squad is already a projected top-25 team next season, so getting all three of Owens, Massengill and Benton eligible could propel the Cats into top-10 status and become a serious Final Four contender.