The saga of Pitt basketball transfer Nike Sibande’s pending NCAA eligibility for the 2020-21 season has quickly devolved into a case of he-said, they-said.
Sibande’s request for a waiver was denied by the NCAA, after his previous school, Miami (Ohio) did not support his request for immediate eligibility.
Miami coach Jack Owens told Jay Bilas of ESPN earlier this week that the reason that Miami did not approve the waiver was that, according to the RedHawks, Sibande’s listed reason for transferring was that he was “run off” the team at Miami, or in other words, that he was told thee was no room from him to return to the school.
Since Owens and the RedHawks did not believe that to be the case, they declined to support the waiver.
Bilas then later obtained a copy of Sibande’s waiver request, which does not mention anything about Sibande being “run off” the Miami team, instead using the COVID-19 pandemic and the birth of Sibande’s daughter as the reasons for requesting a waiver.
Bilas’ article at ESPN came to the conclusion that either Owens and Miami did not read Sibande’s request, or they were intentionally attempting to deceive reporters about the facts of the case.
On Wednesday, the Miami athletic department responded with a statement, once again affirming the RedHawks belief that Sibande had requested a run-off waiver.
“Miami was presented with a request to support a run-off waiver. The student-athlete was, however, provided an opportunity to return for the 2020-2021 season. For this reason, Miami declined to provide support for that specific waiver argument.”
A statement from Miami Athletics pic.twitter.com/80VFxmsjBM
— Miami Athletics (@MiamiRedHawks) October 7, 2020
“Miami did not receive a request to support any other waiver arguments. A final copy of the waiver submission was not provided to Miami for review. We wish all parties the best moving forward.”
If Sibande’s request is denied, he will have to sit out the 2020-21 season at Pitt, before being able to play his final season of eligibility during the 2021-22 season.