The college basketball season kicked off last night, but for the UCLA Bruins and their top recruit Shabazz Muhammad, the season started under a cloud of uncertainty and confusion. Hours before the game tipped off, the NCAA ruled that Shabazz, who is a freshman and one of the nation’s top recruits, was ineligible to play the season opener against the Indiana State Sycamores.
An statement was issued by the UCLA, saying that the reason Shabazz was ruled inelgible isn’t clear to them, and that the NCAA’s reasoning is ambigious at best and doesn’t really pinpoint a good reason why Shabazz can’t suit up.
“The NCAA has finally determined that a violation of the NCAA amateurism rules has occurred involving UCLA freshman guard Shabazz Muhammad and his family. As a result, he is ineligible for competition at this time.” said the UCLA in the statement issued. “We are extremely disappointed that the NCAA has made this determination. The University and our compliance staff have fully cooperated with the NCAA throughout this entire period, and we believe the decision is incorrect and unjust to Shabazz. UCLA will expeditiously pursue its options to challenge this determination. When a final resolution has been reached by the NCAA, we will swiftly communicate the news to the entire Bruin family.”
Worse yet for the Bruins, is the fact that no timetable was given for Shabazz’s return to the team. The NCAA released a one line statement on Shabazz’s ineligibility, and cited amateurism rules as the reason for the ruling. The violation in question seems to revolve around the fact that during the recruiting process, Shabazz accepted travel and lodging to two unnamed NCAA schools.
ESPN.com cites a source that says the trips were to Duke and North Carolina and that they were actually paid for by a family member.
Those visits were to Duke and North Carolina and were paid for by a family friend, a source unauthorized to speak publicly on the matter said. The friend, a financial advisor, is the brother of an assistant coach of Muhammad’s high school team in Las Vegas.
UCLA is appealing the NCAA’s ruling.