NCAA Refuses to Budge on Rakeem Buckles' Decision Despite Appeal Attempt

By Paul Seaver
Jamie Rhodes-USA Today Sports

While all the talk was circulating around Johnny Manziel and the NCAA’s decision to suspend the reigning Heisman winner for one half of football last week, one basketball-related case against Florida International transfer Rakeem Buckles went seemingly unnoticed.

Buckles, who began his career with the Louisville Cardinals, transferred to FIU to play for head coach Richard Pitino. When Pitino took the vacancy at Minnesota this past off-season, Buckles had been hoping to follow him there, especially considering the fact that the Panthers, who are now under the guidance of first year head coach Anthony Evans, are prohibited from playing in the NCAA Tournament in 2014 because of low APR scores. Buckles, who was one year of eligibility remaining, has also suffered two, season-ending knee injuries in the past. But just last week, he was barred from transferring to Minnesota.

It’s a bizarre situation and yet another puzzling, inconsistent move from the NCAA.

Buckles’ plans to appeal the NCAA’s decision were also shot down and now the 6-foot-7 forward must forcibly return to Florida International and considering this will be his final season of eligibility, Buckles will have no shot at playing in the postseason in 2014.

Another interesting point to this matter is the fact that former FIU guard Malik Smith was granted the ability to follow Pitino to Minnesota and in addition, he is being allowed to play right away because of the program’s postseason ban.

So why is Buckles being disallowed?

It’s sad and simply unfortunate.


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