Decision on RaeQuan Battle

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — Last month, the NCAA denied RaeQuan Battle’s waiver for immediate eligibility. However, West Virginia University immediately appealed the decision and unfortunately the appeal was also denied.

Moments ago, Wren Baker and Josh Eilert released a joint statement:

On behalf of West Virginia University Intercollegiate Athletics, we believe the NCAA has made a grave mistake and misjudgment with regard to first denying RaeQuan Battle’s request for a waiver and now in his eventual appeal. Both denials have produced nothing but hardship and penalty.

The intent of the transfer waiver process is to provide relief for extenuating and extraordinary circumstances that are outside the control of the student-athlete. There is no question that RaeQuan’s case clearly calls for a waiver so that he can continue his academic and athletic career on a positive tract. Despite overwhelming evidence that RaeQuan clearly meets the established criteria for relief, the NCAA’s decision to deny does nothing but penalize a student-athlete for negative situations and environments that others have caused him.

As our peer institutions have noted recently during this waiver process in their respective cases, we join them in being confused and saddened by the arbitrary process.

Dating back to at least 2013, RaeQuan has endured a vast amount of trauma in and around his life. It was published earlier this year that RaeQuan was the only Native American to play in the 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. He is believed to be the first from the Tulalip Tribe to receive a Division I basketball scholarship.

Disappointed, disheartened and certainly frustrated are the emotions our entire basketball program is dealing with right now due to this short-sighted decision. It has already been requested by the Division I Board of Directors to review the existing transfer rules and waiver guidelines. Furthermore, the chair of the board was specifically quoted stating the NCAA would ‘continue to view student-athlete well-being and mental health as a priority for the Association.’ RaeQuan clearly meets the criteria, but once again the NCAA has failed to do the right thing for the well-being and mental health of the student-athlete. The right thing would improve the life of a young student-athlete and correct his path to academic and athletic success.

RaeQuan Battle should be playing basketball for West Virginia University while he continues to pursue a bachelor’s degree at WVU, and we will continue to have his best interests in mind and fully support RaeQuan.”

Battle, a 6’5 guard from Tulalip, Washington, averaged 17.7 points and 2.9 rebounds at Montana State last year, and has been the most impressive player on the Mountaineers’ roster in practice, according to multiple sources.

West Virginia head coach Josh Eilert spoke highly of Battle last month: “RaeQuan’s special. He really is special,” said head coach Josh Eilert. “He’s probably our most natural athlete. He really scores the ball well. He can get himself his own shot. But defensively, if you go back to the Press Virginia days, he’d fit right in because he’s so smooth and so athletic and so quick twitched compared to everybody else on that floor.”