Tacko Fall, a 7-foot-6 freshman at Central Florida who had a 3.6 GPA his final two years of high school, is prepared to sue the NCAA if he doesn't win a last-ditch academic waiver, his guardian told ESPN on Tuesday.
"He will be represented," Amanda Wettstein, who has been Fall's guardian for the past two years, told ESPN. "This just isn't right."
Wettstein has been Fall's guardian since he arrived at Liberty Christian Preparatory School [Tavares, Florida] two years ago. She told ESPN that Liberty Christian, which has been in existence for 25 years, has been placed under an extended evaluation status by the NCAA for a minimum of two full academic certification cycles.
The NCAA informed Central Florida on Friday that it is only accepting 7 1/2 of his core courses. It also told UCF that Fall is no longer allowed to practice with the team.
An NCAA spokesman told ESPN that it did not have any comment on Fall's situation.
"Right now, the NCAA seems to be hiding behind his high school, Liberty Christian, not being certified," Wettstein said. "They aren't accepting chemistry, calculus and other courses in which he excelled. This slaps in the face of what they say, that they look at each individual circumstance."
Fall grew up in Dakar, Senegal, and spent his freshman and sophomore years in his native country before arriving in the United States. He is currently an engineering major at UCF.
In a letter obtained by ESPN, Fall wrote to the NCAA that he lived with his mother and younger brother in a one-bedroom apartment and often had just one meal a day. Wettstein said that Fall sends as much of the money he receives from cost of attendance stipend back home so his younger brother can attend school -- which is not free -- in Senegal.
Fall came over to the United States with another student, Ange Badji, on Oct. 20, 2012, and was told he would be attending Christian Life Academy in Texas. However, that never came to fruition.
"We were alone in an apartment with no means to communicate with anyone and our English was not good at the time," Fall wrote. "We were both homesick and lonely because we did not know what was happening."
Fall wound up bouncing around over the next year from a charter school in Texas to Gatlinburg Pittman in Tennessee -- where he remained for just a few weeks -- and then to Faith Baptist in Georgia. He wrote that he also visited schools in Chicago and Kansas.
"They lost a year of high school when they were kept moving around," Wettstein said. "All they did was what they were told."
Said Fall: "We were really starting to give up, because we wanted to go to school and play basketball."
Fall and Badji finally landed at Liberty Christian in September 2013 and lived with Wettstein.
"I had Tacko in three of my classes," Liberty Christian teacher Seth Malec told ESPN. "He did everything that was required, asked questions and wanted to learn. He's a great athlete, but an even better student. I'm surprised the NCAA is giving him a hard time because he's the type of student they should want."
Wettstein said that Fall has met with someone from the NCAA on one occasion, but neither she nor her husband has been contacted by the organization.
"They are punishing Tacko even though he's done nothing wrong," Wettstein said. "It's like he's guilty until proven innocent. He needs to be cleared. This is a young man who is a terrific student."
Central Florida plays its season opener on Nov. 14 at Davidson.