STORRS – Former Husky Roscoe Smith completed the transfer process last week, committing to UNLV. His new school is seeking a waiver that would allow Smith to play next year, according to ESPN’s Andy Katz, without the usual one-year sit-out period for transfer students.
How this plays out, of course, could affect UConn, which remains ineligible for the NCAA Tournament next season due to its APR scores. The NCAA has been a bit looser in granting waivers for transferring players – which now number in the hundreds each year. Usually, there must be a family hardship involved. For instance, Lamont “Mo Mo” Jones was able to transfer from Arizona to Iona and play right away due to a family health issue. Michael Bradley, who has transferred from UConn to Western Kentucky, figures to get one, too. His grandmother, in Tennessee, is fighting cancer and he wants to be closer to her.
Alex Oriakhi was able to transfer from UConn to Missouri and play right away because he has only one year of eligibility left.
Unless Smith has some similar hardship, the NCAA would be making an on-the-fly change in interpretation if it were to allow him to play at UNLV without sitting a year. You can’t fault UNLV for trying – what’s there to lose for them? The argument that Smith should get a waiver only because UConn is uneligible for the postseason doesn’t hold much water. The postseason is not guaranteed anywhere and Smith has two years of eligibility left.
Because they would have to sit out a year, it made little sense for UConn’s remaining players to transfer unless, like Smith, they just really wanted out. Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright, Tyler Olander, et al, all remain on board. If the NCAA were to grant UNLV and Smith this waiver, it could hurt UConn, prompting more transfers, but not necessarily. It’ is already getting late for that, now that June is upon us, and it usually takes a while for NCAA to rule. Smith, in mid-April, was the last player to ask for a release.
But the possibility is there that it could hurt UConn, and it would set a bad precedent to allow transfers to play immediately.
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