The Cyclones say they will appeal the ruling.
White, a 6-foot-8, 250-pound native of Minneapolis, signed with Minnesota for last season but never played a game for the Golden Gophers.
White was suspended last fall after an incident at the Mall of America. He later pleaded guilty to theft and disorderly conduct and left Minnesota in February.
White announced he was transferring to Iowa State in July and had hoped to bypass the NCAA's rule that transfers must sit out their first season.
Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg says the school will exhaust every option to try to get White eligible this year.
Iowa State opens play Friday night against Northern Arizona.