Duke transfer Elliot Williams plans to move "closer to home" and ask the NCAA for a waiver to play next season because his mother is battling cancer. He will reportedly choose between Memphis, Tennessee, Kentucky and Vanderbilt. But the problem with those two statements is that they don't seem to jibe, because there's no chance the Memphis native would get a waiver to play at Tennessee or Kentucky, and even Vanderbilt is a stretch.
At least that's what one Division I coach told CBSSports.com.
According to a Division I coach who has dealt with transfers, the NCAA has "tightened up" the criteria for waivers since allowing Tyler Smith to transfer from Iowa to Tennessee without penalty when Smith's father was battling cancer. Smith wanted to "be closer to home" because of his father's illness, so he picked Tennessee, which is 248 miles from his home in Pulaski, Tenn. The NCAA granted the waiver. But the source said the guidelines are now stricter (even if they aren't clearly defined).
"I know a player who transferred to a school 106 miles from his home, and the NCAA denied the waiver," the source said. "They wanted to know that the player was going to have 'day-to-day responsibilities' with the family member before granting the waiver, and they said that you can't have 'day-to-day responsibilities' if you're 106 miles away."
Assuming that ruling is consistent with the NCAA's current way of thinking, it appears unlikely that Williams could get a waiver to play at any of the schools he's considering except for Memphis. Consider:
- Vanderbilt is 212 miles from Memphis.
- Tennessee is 391 miles from Memphis.
- Kentucky is 423 miles from Memphis.
And that's why it seems to be a near certainty that he'll play for the Tigers next season.