GameDayMen's Basketball

Rice University refutes Oregon's 'meritless allegations of discrimination' against Arsalan Kazemi

The saga of Arsalan Kazemi continues.

The senior transfer from Rice University had been ruled ineligible to play basketball for the Ducks this season by the NCAA before receiving his clearance waiver on Thursday. Now, his former school is disputing claims they say Oregon made in its appeal of Kazemi’s ineligibility.

In a statement given to CBS Sports, Rice spokesman B.J. Almond alleges Kazemi and fellow transfer Omar Oraby cited racial discrimination by the Houston university as a reason they transferred. Oraby, an Egyptian, now plays for USC and received a similar clearance waiver by the NCAA.

“As a matter of policy, Rice University avoids commenting on personnel matters or matters before the NCAA,” the statement reads. “However, allegations involving two former men’s basketball players require a brief response.

“In September 2012, two student-athletes received permission from Rice to transfer to the University of Southern California and the University of Oregon. Both schools have sought a waiver of the NCAA’s one-year residency rule so that the students can compete in the upcoming basketball season. Unfortunately, USC and Oregon have included in those waiver applications meritless allegations of discrimination, including some previously asserted by a former assistant basketball coach whose contract was not renewed last spring.”

According to the Houston Chronicle, “the unnamed assistant is Marco Morcos, who spent four years on the Rice basketball staff, including two as an assistant coach. He was extensively involved in the recruitment of the two international players.”

Kazemi, a 6-foot-7 forward from Iran, averaged a double-double for the Owls before he and Oraby took part in a six-player exodus from the squad last year.

The UO athletic department issued a response Monday.

“A waiver process is available to all student-athletes, and each waiver request is reviewed individually by the NCAA,” the UO statement read. “The University of Oregon made no claims. UO processed Arsalan Kazemi’s request and the NCAA made its decision.”

Kazemi has been unavailable for comment this season.


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