Home / Sports / Memphis star freshman basketball player James Wiseman ruled ineligible by NCAA, but plays Friday

Memphis star freshman basketball player James Wiseman ruled ineligible by NCAA, but plays Friday

memphis star freshman basketball player james wiseman ruled ineligible by ncaa but plays friday - Memphis star freshman basketball player James Wiseman ruled ineligible by NCAA, but plays Friday

James Wiseman, the highest prospect in Memphis basketball’s ballyhooed No. 1 recruiting magnificence, was once dominated ineligible via the NCAA previous this week, his Memphis-based lawyer, Leslie Ballin introduced Friday night time. 

Then again, in a saga that performed out in actual time simply ahead of the Tigers’ Friday evening recreation in opposition to Illinois-Chicago, Ballin stated Wiseman was once granted an injunction via a Shelby County Judicial Courtroom pass judgement on that put the NCAA’s ineligibility determination on grasp pending additional litigation.

Wiseman then arrived at FedExForum at five:17 p.m., lower than 45 mins ahead of Memphis was once scheduled to tip off its 2nd recreation of the 2019-20 season, and was once introduced within the beginning lineup. Wiseman scored 17 issues in Memphis’ 92-46 win over UIC.

The NCAA answered to the court docket’s injunction, issuing the following statement: “The College of Memphis was once notified that James Wiseman is most likely ineligible. The college selected to play him and in the end is answerable for making sure its student-athletes are eligible to play.”

Consistent with Blake Ballin, every other member of Wiseman’s felony crew, the NCAA despatched a letter deeming Wiseman ineligible simply ahead of he took the court docket for the Tigers’ season-opening win over South Carolina State on Tuesday evening. 

At factor, Blake Ballin stated, is trainer Penny Hardaway’s standing as a school booster and 1000’s of bucks the NCAA alleges Hardaway gave to Wiseman’s mom, Donzaleigh Artis, for transferring bills when Wiseman relocated from Nashville to Memphis in the summertime of 2017.

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According to a statement released by the University of Memphis on Friday night, Hardaway “provided $11,500 in moving expenses to assist the Wiseman family in their relocation to Memphis, unbeknownst to James.”  

In conjunction with that move, Wiseman went from playing at Nashville’s Ensworth School to Memphis East High School, which was coached by Hardaway at the time. Wiseman and his family have maintained that they moved to Memphis in order to be closer to his sister, who currently attends the University of Memphis. 

Due to a $1 million donation made by Hardaway in 2008 to help fund the university’s Penny Hardaway Hall of Fame, NCAA bylaws consider Hardaway a booster in perpetuity. 

Wiseman then filed a lawsuit Friday against both the NCAA and the University of Memphis in order to restore his eligibility.

According to the lawsuit, between Jan. 25, 2019 and May 17, 2019, the NCAA and the University of Memphis conducted a joint review of Wiseman’s eligibility and he received NCAA certification “on or about May 29.”

The lawsuit also states that “all information regarding Mr. Hardaway’s financial assistance to Ms. Artis and other points of inquiry were shared with the NCAA prior to certification of Mr. Wiseman’s eligibility.”

On Oct. 31, however, the University of Memphis received a bylaws interpretation from the NCAA alleging that “certain recruiting violations had taken place in order around the summer of 2017,” according to the lawsuit.

“Our position is the NCAA did send a letter in May indicating that James was eligible to play and James relied on that and came to the University of Memphis to play,” Blake Ballin said in an interview. “I’m sure he had other options, but based on that he acted and now they are trying to pull the rug out from under him.”

According to the lawsuit, nobody at the University of Memphis had contemporaneous knowledge of the financial assistance provided by Hardaway to Wiseman’s family.

“Particularly given the unique circumstances in this case, we are hopeful for a fair and equitable resolution on James’ eligibility,” university president M. David Rudd said in a statement. “We support James’ right to challenge the NCAA ruling on this matter.

“The University of Memphis has high standards of ethical conduct for all faculty, staff and students, and we take seriously any allegations or conduct that is not aligned with our mission. We will acknowledge and accept any responsibility for proven violations of NCAA bylaws. The University of Memphis firmly supports James, Coach Hardaway and our men’s basketball program in this matter.”

Reach sports writer Jason Munz at jason.munz@commercialappeal.com or on Twitter @munzly.

- Memphis star freshman basketball player James Wiseman ruled ineligible by NCAA, but plays Friday


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