CINCINNATI — University of Cincinnati basketball transfer Aziz Bandaogo will finally be able to suit up for the Bearcats this season after the NCAA granted the 7-footer immediate eligibility.
Bandaogo and fellow UC transfer Jamille Reynolds’s waivers were rejected by the NCAA in October, prompting the school to file an appeal to get both cleared to play. Just over one week ago, the NCAA denied Bandaogo’s appeal.
Coach Wes Miller spoke at length about the situation after UC’s Nov. 10 win over Detroit Mercy, calling it “totally wrong and unfair.”
“I’m not OK with using my guys as examples for the next people who are transferring,” Miller said. “I’m not OK with sacrificing our kids. And I do believe that’s what’s happening.”
Miller said the NCAA said Bandaogo “checked every box” for a transfer waiver, but they couldn’t understand why he had to go to Cincinnati.
“Why Cincinnati? Where’s he supposed to go? … This is the place closest to his support system — he can’t go to Senegal to play college basketball,” Miller said.
“Change it now. It is ridiculous.” – Wes Miller’s message to @NCAA .
“NCAA whoever… pic.twitter.com/YLfvXCGHl4
— Marshall Kramsky (@marshallkramsky) November 11, 2023
Bandaogo also released a statement following the denial, saying he transferred to UC to be close to his American family after he faced mental health challenges. He called basketball his “joy and gift,” saying the NCAA put another obstacle in his way as he works to better his mental health.
“When I chose Cincinnati, I counted on the NCAA to follow its own rules about transferring to the best school for my mental health. The NCAA let me down,” Bandaogo wrote.
The school petitioned the NCAA to reconsider Bandaogo’s case, and now the former Utah Valley standout will be able to play this season.
“The day I have long dreamt of has finally come. I am grateful that the NCAA has reconsidered my case and granted my immediate eligibility. … Ohio is my American home away from home. I cannot wait to make my Cincinnati debut and give this program everything I have,” Bandaogo said in a statement.
In a statement, Miller said he was “thrilled” that Bandaogo’s case was reconsidered and he will be able to play, but noted Reynolds is still ineligible.
“Unfortunately, we still have another young man who is waiting to hear back from the NCAA on his waiver for immediate eligibility,” Miller said. “Our hope is the NCAA will do the right thing in Jamille Reynolds’ case, as well.”