2 deaths in family not enough to get Rutgers transfer an NCAA hardship waiver

Rich Schultz

The NCAA has a pretty tough definition of "hardship," apparently.

Iowa State freshman Kerwin Okoro lost his brother and father in an 11-month span to cancer and a stroke last year, causing him to decide to transfer to Rutgers after the season to be closer to his remaining family. Okoro applied for a hardship waiver that would allow him to play immediately for the Scarlet Knights instead of being forced to sit out a season, as is mandatory for transfers, but that request didn't go as many had anticipated it would.

The NCAA denied Okoro's application for the waiver on Wednesday, according to Tom Luicci of the The Star-Ledger. The school is expected to appeal the decision.

Okoro averaged one point in just nine games as a freshman at Iowa State. Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan hoped Okoro could provide some backcourt depth next season, but that won't happen if the university's appeal isn't approved.

The cupboard at Rutgers was left rather bare for Jordan after the firing of Mike Rice, with several players transferring out. One of those players, Mike Poole, was actually granted a hardship waiver by the NCAA for his senior year at Iona.

Rutgers is still awaiting a decision from the NCAA on J.J. Moore, who has also requested a hardship waiver after transferring from Pittsburgh. Moore has one year of eligibility left and a ruling is expected in the near future.

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