West Virginia Governor Jim Justice completed a letter to NCAA President Charlie Baker on Friday, asking to reconsider the waiver status of WVU G RaeQuan Battle.
Justice released the following:
I trust this letter finds you well amidst the evolving challenges of leading the NCAA. Today, I write about an extraordinary case requiring your attention and compassionate consideration. The recent decision by the NCAA to deny RaeQuan Battle’s transfer waiver to West Virginia University is of great concern to the constituents of my state. This case highlights the profound impact of collegiate athletics on a student-athlete’s well-being. It warrants a reevaluation.
RaeQuan sought an opportunity to transfer to West Virginia University, driven by his dedication to the sport. It’s essential to remember that college sports are about more than just numbers. They’re about the dreams, journeys, and the incredible stories of student-athletes. RaeQuan’s story is a testament to his unwavering commitment, resilience, and limitless potential, embodying the very spirit of collegiate athletics.
What cannot be understated is the immense significance West Virginia University represents in his life. His decision to transfer to our state’s flagship institution was not solely about a basketball program; it was about seeking education and mentorship from our dedicated coaching staff. RaeQuan had every right to believe that his future path in life would be strongly intertwined with the opportunities provided by West Virginia University’s basketball program.
The NCAA’s decision is primarily based on labeling RaeQuan Battle as a “two-time transfer.” However, it is imperative to consider the extraordinary circumstances surrounding his journey. The collegiate careers of many student-athletes, including RaQuan, have been significantly impacted by the global pandemic, which has led him from the West Coast and now to the Appalachian Mountains. The NCAA has shown flexibility and understanding by granting similar transfers in response to these challenges. This case is no different in its inherent merit.
Moreover, Mr. Battle’s mental health is closely tied to his ability to participate in the upcoming season. The denial of his transfer waiver has created an uncertain and distressing situation for him. The emotional toll of this decision cannot be understated, and it stands to impact not only his athletic career but also his overall well-being.
Over the years, college athletics have undergone significant changes, notably with the evolution of the transfer portal. In the midst of these changes, it’s crucial not to overlook the profound impact on student-athletes. While it might be easy to rubber-stamp decisions without truly understanding individuals, it’s the students and their surrounding communities that bear the greatest consequences. We acknowledge that the emotional toll experienced is not unique to RaeQuan or West Virginia University. However, the influence that basketball, in particular, holds in his life is intrinsically woven into his unique journey.
Having served as the Governor of Massachusetts, you understand the complexities of leadership in a diverse and dynamic environment. I too have had the privilege of serving as the Governor of West Virginia, and I recognize the importance of upholding the values of fairness and opportunity. The NCAA’s existing rule on two-time transfers has evolved to address the ever-changing landscape of college athletics. It is essential to adapt and understand the unique challenges faced by student-athletes in the modern era, just as we have had to adapt to new challenges in our respective governorships.
I have great hope that you can bring the same approach to the NCAA’s evolving world of college sports. While I acknowledge the multitude of decisions you must make, I emphasize that the opportunity for RaeQuan Battle to receive an excellent education while playing basketball at West Virginia University is a matter of utmost significance to him.
I kindly request your reconsideration of the NCAA’s decision, taking into account the challenges faced by student-athletes during the pandemic, in recognizing the importance of providing opportunities for young athletes in collegiate athletics, and aligning with the NCAA’s core values. We respectfully urge you to grant Mr. Battle the eligibility he deserves.”
On Thursday, Justice addressed the issue during his briefing, announcing he planned on writing a letter. Justice mentioned that Battle needs basketball in his life.
Battle is a multi-time transfer, who is in need of a waiver to compete with the Mountaineers this season. Battle transferred to WVU from Montana State and originally started out his collegiate career at Washington. The NCAA denied Battle’s initial waiver on Monday and West Virginia is appealing the decision.
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