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Tacko Fall stands tall amidst NCAA controversy

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Tacko Fall is the big man on campus at Central Florida. He may be a freshman, but standing at 7’6” he towers over all of his fellow classmates. With great height comes great expectations, and with expectations comes hope.

Fall came from Dakar, Senegal, with hopes of obtaining a college education while playing basketball. It wasn’t easy but with time and patience, he found what he was looking for.

Tough Beginnings

Tacko Fall has been battling ever since he left his home in Senegal to come to the United States. A man (whom Fall would like to remain anonymous) brought he and another teen to America with dreams of a higher education and a chance to play basketball. The boys had a hard time getting into school due to issues with their I-20 visas.

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They jumped from state to state just hopeful to find a place to settle in. They were left cooped up in an apartment for days at a time, with their hopes and dreams in limbo. Eventually, Fall got accepted into Liberty Christian Prep in Florida.

They were the only school around that was willing to work with Fall despite his ongoing visa issue. This is also how he met his American family, Mandy Wettstein and her husband Davis Talmage.

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Trouble in Paradise

Just as things began to look up for Tacko, he hit another snag; the NCAA. The NCAA would not clear Fall to play, held him out of team practices and games, and would only accept seven and a half of his core courses.

Liberty Christian Prep has never had a Division I athlete and was never certified by the NCAA. The school is currently under a two year certification evaluation and the process has once again left Fall in limbo.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

With his college hoop dreams up in the air, Fall and his family lawyered up and are ready to take on the NCAA if necessary. In the mean time, UCF filed an academic eligibility waiver on his behalf and it was accepted.

Fall was reinstated and has played in his teams first two games. There may or may not be long term ramifications depending on how the certification process goes at Liberty Christian Prep, but Tacko had a 3.6 GPA and I’m sure he’s smart enough to beat the system again. For now, we can put the #FreeTacko hashtag to bed and enjoy a young talent play some basketball.

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