College athletes from overseas might be stuck at home

FILE - In this March 7, 2020, file photo, Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma talks with Connecticut's Anna Makurat (24) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the American Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinals at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Auriemma is asking for help from Congress to get foreign students, including athletes, back to campus. The Huskies have three foreign players on their roster this year: Anna Makurat, a sophomore from Poland; Nika Muhl, a freshman from Croatia, and Aaliyah Edwards, a freshman from Ontario, Canada. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

STORRS, Conn. – UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma has asked for federal help in getting his team back to campus this summer.

The Huskies, who are scheduled to gather in Storrs for summer workouts on July 26, have three foreign players on their roster: Anna Makurat, a sophomore from Poland; Nika Muhl, a freshman from Croatia; and Aaliyah Edwards, a freshman from Ontario, Canada.

They, like thousands of other U.S. college students from foreign countries, are still overseas because of international travel bans instituted as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Auriemma said Wednesday.

Muhl can't get a visa because the embassy in Zagreb is closed, Auriemma said. Makurat isn't a U.S. citizen and can't get a flight into the states and Edwards can no longer just drive across the Canadian border, he said.

“These issues are going to be really, really difficult to overcome,” Auriemma said. “We've got some really good people in Washington working on it and hopefully we can work with the NCAA and say, ‘OK, how do we get this done?"’

UConn has about 40 international athletes still overseas, the school said.

Men's basektball coach Dan Hurley said freshman Javonte Brown-Ferguson, who also is from Ontario, has been unable to join the team this summer because in order to get the needed I-20 immigration form, he would have to be enrolled in a class that is being taught, at least partially, in-person. UConn's summer classes are all online because of the pandemic.

The NCAA says there are over 20,000 international student-athletes enrolled to compete at its member schools. It has not said how many are believed to still be overseas and referred questions Wednesday to the individual schools who may be having an issue.