A top college hooper got shocking news last month when seemingly out of the blue he was ruled ineligible by the NCAA. Potential NBA draft pick James Wiseman, a star player at the University of Memphis basketball player, found out his status was in jeopardy because current head coach Penny Hardaway gave Wiseman’s family money in 2017. And Wiseman said he knew nothing about it.
“The University is currently working with the NCAA staff to restore his playing status, and we are hopeful for a speedy resolution to the matter,” a statement from the university read.
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Wiseman, a top-rated recruit out of high school, will most likely be a top pick in the 2020 NBA draft, according to sports experts.
The problem started for Wiseman when Hardaway, who donated $1 million to the university in 2008, making him a booster for life and who was named head coach in March 2018, paid $11,500 for Wiseman and his family to move to Memphis, according to CNN.
Accepting money is a no-no for NCAA recruits and the organization “informed the University of Memphis its star freshman was ‘likely ineligible’ on Nov. 5 because of impermissible benefits provided in 2017 by Penny Hardaway (who was not the Tigers’ coach at the time) to Wiseman’s mother, Donzaleigh Artis,” USA Today reported.
After the NCAA ruling, Wiseman filed a lawsuit against the NCAA (the university was named as a nominal defendant) in an effort to keep Memphis from officially declaring him ineligible. Wiseman later dropped the suit and was ultimately declared ineligible by the university.
Then it was ruled the freshman could return to the court in mid-January, after he has served a 12-game suspension.
The James Wiseman situation has grabbed the attention of Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who told TMZ Sports: “Oh my gosh, come on! Let James Wiseman freaking play.”
“We should be paying NCAA athletes on the regular instead of cutting them off,” said Yang, who said the NCAA’s decision as “so bogus!”