PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -- Kerwin Okoro will be allowed to play for Rutgers this season after he was granted an NCAA waiver for immediate eligibility following his transfer from Iowa State.
Rutgers announced the NCAA's reversal Friday night after the 6-foot-5 sophomore guard's initial request was rejected by the governing body last month.
''I would like to thank the NCAA for granting me a waiver,'' Okoro said in a release issued by the school. ''I am very humbled by all the support I have received throughout the process, both from my basketball families at Rutgers and Iowa State. I look forward to working with my teammates and coaches to have a successful season. I feel very fortunate to be at Rutgers and close to my family. I can't wait to play ball.''
Okoro, a high school star at St. Raymond's High in New York, appeared in only nine games for the Cyclones as a freshman while dealing with the death of his 28-year-old brother due to colon cancer just two months after their 72-year-old father died after a stroke.
The 19-year-old Okoro decided to transfer to Rutgers to be closer to his mother and asked for a waiver from NCAA rules mandating transfers sit out one year. After he was first denied, Okoro asked the NCAA to reconsider, getting support from the media, including ESPN announcer Dick Vitale.
Okoro credited Vitale for his help, tweeting, ''I'd also like to give a shout out to the great (at)DickieV for his voice on my waiver ! Truly honored and it is heavily appreciated !''
Vitale also thanked NCAA President Mark Emmert and the governing body on Twitter for granting the waiver.