MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The NCAA has ruled Memphis basketball player James Wiseman must sit out 12 games because of financial assistance his family received before he became a Tiger basketball player. He must also donate $11,500 to a charity of his choice.
The University of Memphis says they will immediately appeal the decision, saying they “expect a more fair and equitable resolution.”
Read the school’s statement here:
Late this afternoon, the NCAA informed the University of Memphis that men’s basketball student-athlete James Wiseman must be withheld from 12 games of competition, stemming from a NCAA violation several years ago. James must sit nine games for the infraction and three additional games for those in which he has already competed this season. In addition, James must pay $11,500 to a charity of his choice.
Based on case precedent, the circumstances of this case and other mitigating factors, the University will immediately appeal this decision. We expect a more fair and equitable resolution, and we will exhaust all avenues on James’ behalf. James will not compete in this evening’s contest.
Wiseman’s attorneys first announced the NCAA said he was likely ineligible in early November. The freshman initially sued both the NCAA and the UofM and a Shelby County judge signed a temporary order allowing him to play.
Wiseman later withdrew the suit and the school benched him while the case played out.
According to the NCAA, Wiseman’s mother received $11,500 from Penny Hardaway before he became the team’s head coach. Wiseman’s attorneys say Hardaway helped his family move from Nashville to Memphis before being recruited to play for the UofM.
The NCAA considers Hardaway a booster because of previous donations.
“The benefit was impermissible because of Hardaway’s status as a Memphis booster,” reads the statement. “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.”
The NCAA says their decision and Wiseman’s punishment is based on guidelines created and approved by NCAA members.
The NCAA says Wiseman will be eligible to compete for Memphis’ Jan. 12 game at South Florida.