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LOS ANGELES (AP) — No. 13 UCLA took a big loss before its season even began on Friday night. The NCAA ruled freshman Shabazz Muhammad is ineligible to play basketball after violating amateurism rules, leaving the Bruins without their highly touted recruit to start the season.

The school announced the NCAA’s ruling in a statement from athletic director Dan Guerrero about 80 minutes before the Bruins’ season opener against Indiana State on Friday night, which was expected to be a celebration of the reopening of newly renovated Pauley Pavilion. UCLA won 86-59 with Muhammad watching from the bench dressed in a blue UCLA sweat suit.

“The NCAA has finally determined that a violation of the NCAA amateurism rules has occurred involving UCLA freshman guard Shabazz Muhammad and his family,” Guerrero said. “As a result, he is ineligible for competition at this time. We are extremely disappointed that the NCAA has made this determination.”

Guerrero said UCLA believes “the decision is incorrect and unjust to Shabazz.” He said the school will pursue its options to challenge the NCAA ruling.

“Very disappointing,” coach Ben Howland said after the game. “I feel terrible for Shabazz because he is a great kid. We were very optimistic he was going to be cleared today. We’re hopeful it’s going to be something that is worked out in the near future.”
Howland said he found out the decision three hours before the game. He also said Muhammad practiced Thursday for the first time in two weeks after straining his right shoulder on Oct. 25.

The NCAA didn’t give a timetable for Muhammad’s ineligibility in its statement. It said he “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 NCAA had been investigating Muhammad for months involving alleged improper benefits he received in his recruitment from boosters of his Las Vegas AAU program and the alleged improper acceptance of airline flights for some of his recruiting visits. He chose UCLA over Kentucky and Duke.

The NCAA said its staff requested specific documents on July 31 to help evaluate Muhammad’s eligibility. However, the NCAA said its enforcement staff didn’t receive the majority of the requested documents for review until Sept. 25, followed by more information on Oct. 10, and what it called “additional critical information” on Nov. 1.

Muhammad’s parents were interviewed last week, according to the NCAA. It said NCAA staff and UCLA submitted the agreed-upon facts on Nov. 9 and a decision was rendered within hours.

13 Responses to NCAA rules UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad ineligible

  • Mike says:

    Darn!

  • David Parsons says:

    How ironic is it that the unofficial visits in question were to Duke and North Carolina, two schools that tend to get the benefit of the doubt from the NCAA. If he had committed to one of them instead of UCLA would the outcome have been different? Given the number of documents reviewed, it also deserves some speculation that there is more to it than just the expenses associated with these visits, perhaps related to the Las Vegas booster involvement that has been alluded to in other articles.

  • King Ghidora says:

    Free Enes… Wait a minute – wrong year!

    Hope to be back soon.

  • Andy S says:

    I highly doubt he will be able to play. Look what they did to Enes. Even if they did, they would levy a heavy suspension of games.

  • yvette F says:

    WOW

  • I say, great Job of our Coaches and Assistant Coaches…They back off on Shabazz recruiting, the last 3 weeks before he announce4d….

    • Mark S. says:

      I agree with Larry. Hats off to our coaches. I think they smelled a dead rat and did not want to go with it. It just goes to show that Cal won’t tolerate under the table dealings with player agents.

  • UKFMLY says:

    JUST SAY NO

  • Jim Boyers says:

    Four things:

    1) Whoooooo….We dodged THAT one.

    2) Too bad for UCLA that Saint Wooden is no longer alive. The NCAA wouldn’t have messed with them then.

    3) You can almost guarantee his actions will be ruled an “honest mistake” and the suspension overturned. I mean this isn’t a UK player, so he will probably get to play because only Cal and his players really break the rules. Dirty cheaters.

    4) Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!

  • King Ghidora says:

    I’ve been in the process of moving so I’ve not had time to hang out here. I think I have the net back at least for now.

    I don’t see UCLA facing the same routine UK had to endure. There will be no last second reversals of promises made. Shabazz will almost certainly be playing soon. After all it is UCLA, the benefactor of the biggest cheating coverup in history. It isn’t UK. No one is going to tell them their player will be eligible right up until the last minute only to yank the rug out from under them. He will likely sit a game or two and that will be it. Most likely this is just cover for what they did to UK anyway. It’s hard to cry foul when UCLA got sanctioned too even if just a little bit.

    • Good Luck on the Move….and it’s good to read your post again….Yeah, I was surprised when the NCAA, didn’t give more specifics…They’re looking to give him a way out. In their justified minds, ” For The Good of west coast College Basketball “, they are up to something….

  • King Ghidora says:

    Yeah we knew to the penny what Kanter took. Now it’s as clear as mud what’s going on. Expect a whitewash soon.

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