It has been a month since South Carolina women’s basketball officially submitted a hardship waiver to the NCAA to make redshirt junior guard Te’a Cooper immediately eligible, and it’s been radio silence since then.
Coach Dawn Staley has been asked several times over the past several weeks about Cooper’s status, and she’s maintained that as soon as USC finds anything out, the university will let people know. The NCAA, meanwhile, has been quiet.
However, as the delay drags on and the No. 10 Gamecocks continue to get hammered by injuries, many fans have been increasingly vocal with the opinion that the NCAA should issue a final ruling as quickly as possible to either let Cooper play or let Staley know she won’t be an option for this season.
Staley addressed that possibility Friday as the Gamecocks prepared to face Kentucky this weekend, saying she believes the team’s injury situation should play no role in the case, which she believes has enough merit to be approved. She also said she remains optimistic about Cooper’s chances.
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‘I just want a decision,” Staley said. “It’s been a month. I’m hoping that, because they’re not making a quick decision, they’re going through all of it.
“And I think what we put together is something that’s truthful. Because a lot of times you gotta be a really good liar to get a waiver OK’ed. I think what we’ve done is we given is what we think is fair, which is she sat out last year, no need to have a kid sit out two years. She’s sat out a year and a half now. She’ll lose a year of eligibility if she doesn’t play. Why bring a kid back for a sixth year? That’s more money, more time, when we’re just asking for the rest of the season, which I don’t think is a whole lot in the whole grand scheme of things.”
“No, I don’t want them to consider our injuries. No, I don’t want them to consider that, because that’s not why we put it in. We put it in on the merit of her sitting out last year, her being able to be with our team this year after sitting out for a year and a half, and, hopefully, they’ll base it on that.”
Cooper transferred to South Carolina this offseason from Tennessee, where she missed her sophomore season with a knee injury.
South Carolina plays Kentucky this Sunday at noon in Lexington. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.