Shabazz Muhammad Case with the NCAA is a Giant Mess, and the Focus Now is a Conversation Heard on a Flight

Shabazz Muhammad, who was ruled ineligible by the NCAA last week, could be getting railroaded. Shocking, I know. The twist to the story comes from the LA Times. An attorney heard a conversation on a flight about Muhammad, and reached out to the Times with this stunning information:

The conversation came to light in an email from an attorney who said she was seated behind a man who was speaking loudly about the work of his girlfriend, an “attorney with the NCAA.”

The girlfriend, whom he identified as “Abigail,” was investigating Muhammad. The man made it clear that the NCAA would find Muhammad ineligible and not allow him to play this season, the email said. Abigail Grantstein, an assistant director of enforcement, is the NCAA’s lead investigator on the Muhammad case.

Just some dude talking tough to impress someone? Perhaps. But the timing of the conversation looks even worse for the NCAA.

The flight was only eight days after NCAA investigators say they first requested documents from Muhammad’s family. The first installment of what was thousands of pages of documentation was not delivered until Sept. 25, and Muhammad’s parents, Ron Holmes and Faye Muhammad, were not formally interviewed until Nov. 1 and 2.

So the NCAA, which usually gets angry at the big schools and punishes smaller schools, decided in advance it would go after storied UCLA and the best high school player in the country? Interesting, but not very surprising. I’d love to know exactly when the NCAA decided this was an issue they wanted to “win.” Remember last September, when all of a sudden Ben Howland’s recruiting fortunes began to turn? This smells like a case where the NCAA knows something is up, can’t really prove anything, but will punish the star anyway. Sigh. [LA Times]

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