UConn's Auriemma Working to get International Players to the US

Ignatius L Hoops

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UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma said that the school is working with members of Congress to try to help with travel issues that international students -- including three of his Huskies players -- are experiencing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

His hope is that all members of the women's basketball team can return to campus in Storrs, Connecticut by the last weekend of July.

Three members of the 2020-21 UConn women's basketball team are from outside the United States: sophomore Anna Makurat of Poland, and freshmen Nika Muhl of Croatia and Aaliyah Edwards of Ontario, Canada. None of them currently can travel into this country, Auriemma said.

"Nika needs to fly over from Zagreb, but the U.S. Embassy hasn't been open. So getting a visa has become a real problem," Auriemma said, giving one example of the difficulties. "These issues have been really, really difficult to overcome.

"Professional athletes have no problem traveling back and forth, so we started asking questions like, 'Why is that?' We've got some good people in Washington, D.C., looking into how do we do that for international students, not just athletes, and not just at UConn. And hopefully we can work with the NCAA and say, 'How can we get this done?'

"It has to start with your congressman, and I'm fortunate I have a great relationship with our congressman in Connecticut. This isn't like a one side wants it, one side is going to argue about it. This isn't a Democrat or Republican thing. This is something that affects an awful lot of people in the country; it doesn't matter what side of the aisle you're on. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that something can be done to facilitate these kids coming over and being able to go to school. Again, the athletic piece is just a small piece of it."
 
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