Is the NCAA’s issue with Tacko Fall in compliance with its regulations? Since he moved from Senegal, Tacko Fall has excelled in all areas. But the NCAA isn’t seeing that.
Tacko Fall, a freshman at University of Central Florida, has been banned from practicing with the college’s team. As reported by ESPN, the issue is that the NCAA isn’t accepting all off Tacko’s academic credits from Liberty Christian Preparatory School — the high school from which the 7-foot, 6-inch player graduated. The report states that Fall’s high school is undergoing an extensive evaluation of its last two academic cycles.
The sports news source states that the NCAA told University of Central Florida that it was only accepting seven and a half of Tacko’s high school credits. While the school has been in existence for the last 25 years, the organization feels now is the time to investigate its certification and accreditation. Although the NCAA has ruled that Fall’s college practice efforts are halted, does it comply with their rules for Division I collegiate players, essentially freshmen?
According to the 2015-2016 NCAA Division I manual, no student is allowed to represent the institution via its teams if he or she is not in compliance with the college’s bylaws. Yet, in the NCAA’s compliance regulations document, it states — as Bylaw 126.96.36.199 — “You are eligible to practice if you are enrolled in a minimum full-time program of studies leading to a baccalaureate or equivalent degree as defined by the regulations of the certifying institution.”
7-foot-6 freshman (and viral video star) Tacko Fall is prepared to sue NCAA if he’s not granted academic waiver. https://t.co/C5hzmJ7cGI
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 10, 2015
University of Central Florida’s minimum full-time program is 12 units, as most other universities and colleges. The issue comes at Bylaw 188.8.131.52.2, which states as follows.
“You are referred to as a qualifier and are eligible to practice and compete in your sport and to receive financial aid (institutional and athletically related) during your first academic year, under Bylaw 14.02.11.1, if you: (a) Graduate from high school; (b) Attain a minimum high school grade-point average as specified in Bylaw 184.108.40.206.2 (based on a 4.000 scale) in a successfully completed core curriculum of at least 16 core courses…”
As stated in the ESPN report, the NCAA is only accepting half of the required core curriculum. So, as it states in the regulations document, that sets Tacko up as a non-qualifier. And as a non-qualifier, he’s ineligible for practice as well as competition during his first year. Also, he can’t receive any financial aid from the sports department. However, he is allowed financial aid from non-sports related departments and programs — but only based on need, “consistent with institutional and conference regulations.”
— SB Nation CBB (@SBNationCBB) November 10, 2015
On the organization’s official site, it states that the minimum grade point average required for eligibility is 2.3. According to ESPN, Tacko Fall’s GPA is 3.6. Moreover, all teachers who were interviewed stated that he’s an exceptional student and doesn’t deserve to undergo such scrutiny the NCAA is putting him through.
Amanda Wettstein is Tacko’s guardian here in the States. She told sources that he will be represented legally in this situation if the organization refuses to apply an academic waiver. She says that the sports organization’s decision “just isn’t right.” Wettstein quotes as follows.
“Right now, the NCAA seems to be hiding behind his high school, Liberty Christian, not being certified. They aren’t accepting chemistry, calculus and other courses in which he excelled. This slaps in the face of what they say, that they look at each individual circumstance…”
“They are punishing Tacko even though he’s done nothing wrong. It’s like he’s guilty until proven innocent. He needs to be cleared. This is a young man who is a terrific student.”
When Fall arrived to the States, he didn’t exactly receive things as he thought he would, as reports ESPN. The source states that Tacko wrote a letter to the NCAA mentioning everything he went through — that even conquering the adversity, he still maintained his grades and scholastic demeanor. Once arriving from Senegal, Fall was supposed to attend Christian Life Academy in Texas. However, he was only there for a short time.
He mentioned that he and his roommate were in an apartment alone, barely able to speak English. Since there was a communications barrier, things didn’t work out. They were moved from that location to Gatlinburg Pittman, in Tennessee. Yet, they only stayed there for a few weeks as well. From there, he went to Faith Baptist in Georgia — as well as other schools in Illinois and Kansas thereafter. Wettsein told ESPN as follows.
“They lost a year of high school when they were kept moving around. All they did was what they were told.”
What are your thoughts? The season begins November 14. Would that be enough time for Tacko Fall to get back on the court? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments.
[Video via YouTube; Image via Twitter]