Tulsa football's new linebacker Khari Harding may have to sit out a season, due to the NCAA's termination of hardship waivers.
The University of Auburn transfer moved to Tulsa in order to be closer to his father, Corie Harding, who is battling cancer for the second time. Khari's main reason for switching schools is to maximize his father's chances to watch him play.
The Edmond native, as well as his family, is devastated by the news. They all expected him to gain immediate eligibility, in order to start this fall.
Rather than issue immediate eligibility, the NCAA now offers transfers a waiver that adds an additional year to their careers.
Khari wasn't happy about the news. Upon finding out, he tweeted: “Guess I gotta get ready for 2016 season...”
At this time, the University of Tulsa is seeking further clarification, because the Board of Directors Report from April 24, 2014, stated that the change would not affect student-athletes who enrolled in the spring of 2015. Because Khari enrolled at TU during the 2014–2015 academic year, the change shouldn't affect him.
His father believes that Khari would have stayed at Auburn if he would've known this issue would occur. "I know for a fact the first thing that will come out of his mouth is [that] he should have stayed at Auburn," said Corie.
The former defensive back played in five games during his two-year stint as an Auburn Tiger. Last year, he made three tackles and played seven snaps in three games.
Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery made the following statement about Khari back in February (when he signed him):
“[He was] the number three player coming out of the state of Oklahoma in 2013, [and is] transferring back here from Auburn. [Khari] was a safety, so you know he has cover skills, can be able to flip his hips and run, but his body's taken him to be a linebacker… [He] will come downhill and hit you, [and] does great fitting [and] using his hands.”
The University of Tulsa issued the following statement regarding the matter:
“It has been The University of Tulsa's interpretation that the Legislative Relief (SLR) policy specifying that immediate eligibility no longer be provided for undergraduate student-athletes who are not eligible to use the one-time transfer exception would enter into affect beginning with the 2015-16 academic year. The NCAA DI Board of Directors Report from April 24, 2014 states "the change would be effective for those undergraduate transfer students who transfer and enroll during the 2015-16 academic year and thereafter."
The recent NCAA Question & Answer dialogue relating to the 4-4 transfer directive that was issued on March 16, 2015 indicates differently. The University of Tulsa has been operating under the interpretation of the Board of Directors Report of April 24, 2014 indicating the change would not affect those students who enrolled in spring 2015.
Student-athlete Khari Harding enrolled at The University of Tulsa during the 2014–15 academic year. The waiver seeking immediate eligibility for Harding for the 2015 football season is currently in progress.
The University of Tulsa understands that the document issued on March 16th is not legislation, but instead an NCAA "Q&A" unpublished standard and not an official interpretation. The university will seek further clarification and will continue the waiver process.”