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Tacko Fall: the latest victim of the NCAA

A 7-6 Senegalese center who graduated from accredited high school with a 3.6 GPA wants to play. No issue, right? Well, the NCAA is involved.

Donnie Jones is down a player
Donnie Jones is down a player
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Here at Banners on the Parkway we like to think of ourselves as sticking up for the little guy. We love college basketball, sometimes to the exclusion of real life, but we can't always wrap our heads around the people who are running it. Once again, the NCAA has struck with a ruling that seems to violate the very reason for which they exist. Myles Davis fell victim to that when he attempted to join Xavier to begin with. Now, another young man has run afoul of some arbitrarily enforced rule.

Tacko Fall is a 7-6 center for Central Florida who has recently been denied an academic waiver by the NCAA. The NCAA will, of course, not explain the ruling at all. According to ESPN:

The NCAA informed Central Florida on Friday that it is only accepting 7 1/2 of his core courses. It also told UCF that Fall is no longer allowed to practice with the team.

An NCAA spokesman told ESPN that it did not have any comment on Fall's situation.

That's pretty par for the course for the NCAA. They aren't going to explain anything that the law doesn't require them to. They hold teams, families, and the kids trying to play ball hostage essentially on a whim. Tacko isn't some kid who sat lazily in class and didn't try to work hard. He's not a kid who was raised with every advantage in life and wasted most of them out of a sense of entitlement. No, he's a kid who came to the US from Senegal and sends most of his money back home to care for his family. He also graduated from an accredited high school with a 3.6 GPA.

The NCAA routinely looks into international students, and that makes perfect sense. Frequently, players who come from across the pond have their transcripts and test scores scrutinized a little more thoroughly. Fall arrived in the States in 2012 and, from the Orlando Sentinel:

As recently as last week, she [Fall's guardian] said the organization requested more documents from his Orlando high school, including progress reports and report cards from his junior and senior years along with samples of classwork. She questions why the NCAA waited until just days before the season was slated to start to request these items.

Representatives from the NCAA declined to comment on Fall's eligibility when the Orlando Sentinel inquired about his status and the approval process Monday afternoon.

And of course they won't comment. For now, Tacko Fall sits and waits to play ball because an institution won't let him. Another young man did everything he thought he needed to do and, once again, the NCAA couldn't miss a chance to be the bad guy.