Shabazz Muhammad, one of the best high school basketball players in the country last year, a star who was expected to revive a struggling UCLA program, has been declared ineligible by the NCAA. UCLA just released this statement:
“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. 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.”
Muhammad was expected to be a 1-and-done player for the Bruins. UCLA plans to appeal.
UPDATE: Here’s a more detailed statement from the NCAA:
UCLA student-athlete Shabazz Muhammad is not eligible to compete in tonight’s game due to violations of NCAA amateurism rules. In addition to other pending issues, Muhammad accepted travel and lodging during three unofficial visits to two NCAA member schools.
The university and the NCAA enforcement staff agreed on the set of facts in the case, which led to the determination that a violation occurred. NCAA member schools have established standards to determine when an individual may provide financial assistance to student-athletes. These criteria, which were not met in this case, are in place to identify when benefits are provided based on a student-athlete’s athletic ability.
The NCAA is committed to providing thorough, yet timely decisions regarding student-athlete eligibility. The expediency of these decisions can hinge on the level of timely cooperation of all involved parties.
In the case of Muhammad, the NCAA staff requested specific documents on July 31 to assist in the evaluation of Muhammad’s eligibility. However, the NCAA enforcement staff did not receive the majority of the requested documents for review until September 25, followed by more information on October 10, and additional critical information on November 1.
After reviewing thousands of pages of information, the NCAA interviewed Muhammad’s parents last week. The staff and the university then submitted the agreed-upon facts the afternoon of November 9. The NCAA then rendered a decision within a matter of hours. As demonstrated by the facts, we are committed to resolving the remaining matters as quickly as possible.