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Foreign-Student Visa Rule Could Impact Husker Roster

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The Huskers have multiple players from overseas who could end up ineligible as a result.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 11 Big Ten Tournament - Nebraska vs Indiana Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a Temporary Final Rule earlier this week by the The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) that could have disastrous consequences for the Nebraska Cornhuskers basketball roster. The decision announced by DHS would result in any school that moves to a 100-percent online curriculum for a student this fall would see visas to be present in the United States revoked for foreign-students. DHS justified their decision by stating any student who does not need to be present in a classroom does not meet the need for a visa to be lawfully in the United States during that online semester.

To clarify, SEVP is a unit within DHS. Per their website, the distinction on Visa programs is:

Welcome to the official SEVP and SEVIS website. Here you can find the latest information and resources for F (academic) and M (vocational) students, as well as designated school officials (DSOs).
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is a part of the National Security Investigations Division and acts as a bridge for government organizations that have an interest in information on nonimmigrants whose primary reason for coming to the United States is to be students.
On behalf of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), SEVP manages schools, nonimmigrant students in the F and M visa classifications and their dependents. The Department of State (DoS) manages Exchange Visitor Programs, nonimmigrant exchange visitors in the J visa classification and their dependents. Both SEVP and DoS use the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) to track and monitor schools; exchange visitor programs; and F, M and J nonimmigrants while they visit the United States and participate in the U.S. education system.

Schools such as Harvard had recently announced that they would be entirely online only this fall. In light of this, Harvard and MIT filed a lawsuit yesterday against the DHS decision. Now, how this could have the potential to impact the Nebrasketball team is if UNL reverses course (which seems highly improbable at present, but by no means completely impossible) and moves to an online only format for the fall, or has to end all in-classroom instruction early in the semester. To be clear, the DHS rule would revoke visas to foreign-students at that point and they would need to leave the country. Should that happen, almost half of the team would no longer be able to be legally present to participate. For the full roster affected, see Robin Washut’s helpful list below:

If you are keeping track, that is 6 out of 13 scholarship players who would be lost due to revoked visas. Left on the roster would be just 10 players including walk-on’s, and that doesn’t include a break-down of any transfers who need to wait a season for eligibility.

To further clarify, there has been no clear indication that the other common model of ending all instruction in-classroom at Thanksgiving and spending any remaining classroom time and finals as online only falls under this decision. As mentioned above, a premature move would result in visas being revoked, though.

The current result of the decision is that many universities are moving to provide hybrid online and in-classroom learning for all foreign-students no matter the grade level and plan for the rest of the student body. It is unclear at present what options UNL would have available to keep half of their basketball team on the roster should in-person classes need to be cancelled. In other news, check out today’s tweet from Yvan Ouedragogo.


Please note: This is an important but volatile sports topic that relates to politics in obvious ways. The comment section will be promptly closed if community members cannot discuss it in an adult, civil tone that is seeking to contribute to a dialogue.