U of L appealing NCAA ruling against Puerto Rico trip

I saw the following in the CJ on Sunday. 

The Cardinals are still awaiting an NCAA ruling that they hope would allow the team to play exhibition games in Puerto Rico.

Coach Rick Pitino said taking the trip was partly why he agreed to coach the Puerto Rican National Team.

"The reason why I took the job without pay, so my college team can benefit in a certain way and we can play against the Puerto Rican National Team," he said. "(The NCAA) told me you can't do that because Puerto Rico is part of America, and that's not considered a foreign trip."

Pitino said U of L appealed the initial ruling. Should the NCAA deny the appeal, he said, "It's going to be very difficult for me to be two places at once. Unless Ralph (Willard) and I can make it work, it's going to be very difficult to do."

"We filed a waiver asking permission because the nature of this," he said. "I'm going to be a national coach — you would hope that they would give you a waiver on that because we're so friendly with Puerto Rico. We were hoping for a favorable ruling."

If the Cards win their appeal, the exhibitions would be in August.

Is it old news that this trip was awaiting an appeal ruling?  It's the first I heard that there were any issues with the planned trip to Puerto Rico.

- Shouldn't this trip have been cleared with the NCAA before planning it?

- This makes it really tempting to fall into the "the NCAA hates us" trap.

- This trip is the reason Chane Behanan declined an invite to tryout for the Kenucky All-Star team.

- This caps off a full week of body blows and uppercuts we've taken in regards to our basketball team.

I really hope this appeal is won and we can see our team play - albeit in exhibition games - in August.  It will give us a good idea as to the quality of our new guys, in addition to some insight as to how Swopshire and Buckles are rehabilitating.  I wouldn't expect to see them playing, but it creates a forum in which we'd more likely get updates.

Come on, NCAA.  Free Puerto Rico!

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