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Memphis’ Wiseman cleared to compete Jan. 12

James Wiseman, a freshman on the University of Memphis men’s basketball team, must sit 11 additional games (12 total) based on recruiting inducements his family received before he enrolled at Memphis and for competing in three games while ineligible. He will be eligible to compete in Memphis’ Jan. 12 contest at South Florida. He also must donate $11,500 to a charity of his choice.

The decision is based on guidelines created and approved by NCAA members.

According to the facts of the case submitted on November 14 and agreed upon by the school, Wiseman’s mother received $11,500 from Memphis booster Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, before Memphis employed him as its head men’s basketball coach.

The benefit was impermissible because of Hardaway’s status as a Memphis booster. Hardaway had made donations to the school in the past, including $1 million to help build the Penny Hardaway Athletic Hall of Fame at the school. Boosters cannot provide financial assistance to prospective student-athletes, their family members or friends unless that assistance is generally available to other members of the student body and is not given based on athletics ability.

About the process

According to rules adopted by NCAA member schools, prospective student-athletes must have their amateurism certified by the Eligibility Center prior to competing for an NCAA member school. If other potential violations are discovered during that review, the school is notified of possible issues.

When a member school discovers an NCAA rules violation has occurred, it must declare the student-athlete ineligible and may request the student-athlete’s eligibility be reinstated. Under rules created by NCAA members, schools cannot play ineligible student-athletes unless and until eligibility has been reinstated. The NCAA staff reviews each student-athlete reinstatement request individually based on its own merits and set of specific facts. The staff uses guidelines created and approved by the membership to make its decision. The staff decision can be appealed to the Division I Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement.