He came home to play basketball for VCU. But Joe Bamisile may not be allowed to hoop with the Rams.

JOE BAMISILE transfer story
Posted at 7:49 PM, Sep 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-28 19:49:05-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- New VCU Rams men's head basketball coach Ryan Odom is still getting used to his surroundings and so are many of his players.

With only five Rams left over from last year's roster, Odom recruited a couple of faces familiar to Central Virginia fans.

One of those is former Monacan standout Joe Bamisile.

"He's a guy that can put the ball in the basket. We were beginning to put the roster together. We felt that was something we definitely needed," Odom said. "All in all, it was a no-brainer for us from a basketball perspective."

CBS 6 profiled Bamisile during his time at Monacan where he averaged almost 29 points per game during his junior season with the Chiefs.

He missed his senior year due to injury.

The one-season per team average has followed him.

Bamisile spent one year at Virginia Tech, then a year at George Washington before he transferred to Oklahoma.

Now he's back home at VCU where he currently goes through practices every day.

"He doesn't have to be the biggest personality in the room but you're going to know he's there," Odom said. "He's got a big smile. He loves life. He loves his teammates."


The NCAA rules on transferring from one program to another allow a student-athlete to do it once without having to sit out a season.

Any subsequent transfers require a waiver from the NCAA to play immediately.

Bamisile got that waiver when he transferred from George Washington to Oklahoma a year ago.

He cited on social media his issues with anxiety and mental health challenges for needing to transfer.

Now, he's asking for another transfer waiver.

"It was based on the doctor's advice and the medical professionals' advice that it would be better for his family to have help," VCU athletic director Ed McLaughlin said. "So Joe made the decision to move back to Richmond to help his family."

JOE BAMISILE transfer story
VCU athletic director Ed McLaughlin

Bamisile's father, who works in the mental health care industry himself, has had a series of serious medical issues including open heart surgery.

His son wanted to be close to home while finishing his collegiate career.

"There aren't many waivers that would be better suited than Joe's waiver for this reason," McLaughlin said.

But the NCAA denied his most recent waiver request.

Bamisile can practice and attend classes but cannot play in any games for the Rams unless that changes.

"If we're in this for students, and the NCAA talks all the time about how important mental health is and that's a deciding factor in everything we do, you can't say that and then turn around and deny waivers based on they don't agree about the mental health part of it," McLaughlin said.

On the NCAA's website, under the heading of transfer waivers, the first exception states a waiver would be considered for reasons related to the student-athlete's physical or mental health and well-being. To Bamisile and VCU, this should be an easy decision.

Others, like ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas, agree and have said as much on social media.

"If we're going to have a process, we should stick to the process and evaluate things based on that process and the rules we have in place," McLaughlin said.

"He deserves to have a really positive end to his career," Odom added.

JOE BAMISILE transfer story

Having transferred multiple times before and having already been granted one waiver, there was no guarantee of a second one being granted.

VCU has filed an appeal and Bamisile will get to make his case directly to the NCAA.

"The NCAA has a waiver process in place for a reason. And it's for guys like Joe Bamisile. We're hopeful they will see that," Odom said. "We'll live with whatever decision is made. We know it's not ours but we're going to put our best foot forward because we, VCU, believe that he does have a very good waiver and that he should be able to play."

"As folks really understand it and he can speak for himself on this rather than it just being a written appeal that doesn't have any human behind it, I think when they see the human part of Joe, I hope more clear heads prevail," McLaughlin said.

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