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Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN)
Marcus Carr, a guard for the Gophers men's basketball team who transferred from Pittsburgh in the spring, had his waiver request to play this season denied by the NCAA, sources told the Star Tribune on Wednesday.
Carr, who has three years of eligibility remaining, and the Gophers already have appealed the decision, a university spokesman said.
Major college transfers have to sit out one season unless their request is approved, per NCAA rules.
Carr added an emoji of a broken heart on Instagram and tweeted a statement about the waiver process Wednesday night.
"I went to Pitt to play for Coach [Kevin] Stallings and his staff," he wrote. "They recruited me, gained my trust and believed in me. They were fired after two years! It was a toxic environment and difficult situation for me personally. It took a major toll on me emotionally. I should not be punished for needing a change. The NCAA is overlooking my well-being and my mental health. These waivers and transfer rules need to change."
Stallings received a $10 million buyout and was replaced by Jeff Capel in late March, but Carr already had requested his release from scholarship to transfer.
The rejection came as a surprise to the Minnesota program, because other players around the country had received waiver approval to play this offseason. Gophers coach Richard Pitino seemed confident after Tuesday night's season opener, a 104-76 victory over Omaha at Williams Arena, that Carr's waiver would be granted.
"We're going to assume that something is going to happen soon," Pitino said after the game. "We're optimistic that he should get the waiver."
Pitino said the U's compliance department took care of its end of the waiver process, but didn't know if the holdup was on the Pitt side. When reached for comment, Pitt athletics officials supplied a statement to the Star Tribune: "Pitt has cooperated and submitted the requested information to the NCAA regarding Marcus Carr's waiver. ... We wish Marcus all the best in his pursuit now and in the future."
If the appeal is also denied, Carr won't play this season and will join junior guard Payton Willis, a transfer from Vanderbilt, as potential difference-makers sitting on Pitino's bench.
"I came here because of the environment, coach, and I believe in this team," Carr said recently. "I believe they have a good chance to compete for a Big Ten title and make it to the NCAA tournament. If I'm not able to play this year, I just hope to get better, work on my craft and just get these guys better every day, because I want to see them succeed."
The Toronto native averaged 10 points, a team-high four assists and started 27 games for Pittsburgh last season. Carr also was an All-ACC academic team selection. He spent Tuesday night's opener on the bench not in uniform while he awaited word on his eligibility.
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