NCAA clears UCF 7-foot-6 recruit Tacko Fall to play
ORLANDO, Fla. — Central Florida’s Tacko Fall is no longer in limbo.
The school said Friday the NCAA has cleared the 7-foot-6 Senegalese freshman to play. UCF received word from the governing body a day before the Knights open their season at Davidson.
Fall’s eligibility was in doubt after the NCAA stopped him from participating in practices while it reviewed his academic record.
He thanked the university and its president, John Hitt, as well his family and the media.
"I would also like to thank the NCAA for allowing me to continue to pursue my dream here at UCF as a student-athlete," he said in a statement.
Fall came to the U.S. from Senegal and attended Liberty Christian in Tavares, Florida where he averaged 20 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks per game in two seasons. He graduated from Liberty Christian this past spring and has been enrolled at UCF since June.
The prep school said Thursday it was informed by the NCAA in April 2014 that information on Fall’s records revealed no immediate issues. Only recently had the NCAA requested additional records.
Earlier this week, UCF filed for an academic waiver with the NCAA to allow Fall to play as his American host mother, Mandy Wettstein, considered legal action if he was held out.
"I cannot stop crying. It was always about more than basketball. We are so grateful to everyone," Wettstein tweeted shortly after hearing the news.
Fall will be in uniform for UCF’s home opener Wednesday when the Knights face UC Irvine and their 7-6 Senegalese center, Mamadou Ndiaye. Ndiaye set a Big West Conference single-season record with 106 blocks as a freshman in 2013-14.
Knights coach Donnie Jones said the decision will allow Fall to pursue his athletic and academic goals. Fall is enrolled in UCF’s engineering program.
"We are excited for Tacko and his family," UCF coach Donnie Jones said.