USC Women's Basketball

NCAA makes ruling on South Carolina’s Te’a Cooper situation

Coach Dawn Staley sounds off on NCAA’s Te’a Cooper decision

The University of South Carolina Gamecocks beat Arkansas at the Colonial Life Arena 90-41.
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The University of South Carolina Gamecocks beat Arkansas at the Colonial Life Arena 90-41.

South Carolina women’s basketball transfer Te’a Cooper will not play for the Gamecocks this season after the NCAA denied her application for a hardship waiver on Thursday, the team announced.

Cooper, who transferred to USC from Tennessee this past offseason, has been sitting out this season under NCAA transfer rules, but the Gamecocks applied for a hardship waiver on Dec. 18, arguing that because the redshirt sophomore had missed her second season at UT with a knee injury, forcing her to sit out a second season would cost her a year of eligibility.

“I’m still waiting for our compliance (office) to get the exact reasoning, and of course I’ll let you guys know,” head coach Dawn Staley said after Thursday’s game against the Arkansas Razorbacks. “I don’t know what was said on the phone, I want to see the official statement as to why (the waiver was denied).”

When asked if the Gamecocks would appeal the decision, Staley said they would not, but added that “if I’m (Cooper’s) parents, I would probably lawyer up.”

Cooper, a top-20 recruit nationally in high school, will have two seasons of eligibility left with USC, technically with the chance to apply for a sixth year in 2020-2021. However, Staley has said she is not interested in that option.

Without Cooper, the Gamecocks have just four healthy guards as redshirt senior Lindsey Spann continues to sit with a knee injury.

Greg Hadley: @GregHadley9

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