There may be more behind the NCAA’s decision to deny Te’a Cooper’s hardship waiver this season.
Tennessee, according to Staley, objected to the waiver that would allow Cooper to play this season after transferring. But Staley doesn't believe that decision is what is keeping Cooper on the bench this season.
“I think it was a factor, but I don't think it was the deciding factor,” Staley said.
Cooper transferred from Tennessee to South Carolina over the summer. She did not play for the Lady Vols last season due to a knee injury. However, Cooper still wasn’t allowed to play due to NCAA transfer rules.
Following the game on January 14 between South Carolina and Tennessee, Lady Vols head coach Holly Warlick was asked if there were any restrictions placed on Cooper’s transfer.
“Not to my knowledge,” Warlick replied.
However, Staley confirmed Friday that Tennessee did object to the transfer.
“Holly can say that she didn’t object,” Staley said, “but there are people that she has to answer to and those are the people that made the decision.”
“I think Holly would’ve wanted her to play,” Staley added. “Coaches don’t want to take away opportunities for kids. I think, when it came down to the rule, Tennessee just stuck with the rule.”
Staley said the Gamecocks did try to expedite the process by using the waiver in hopes of getting Cooper on the floor.
Cooper will be eligible to play for the Gamecocks next season.
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