Report: Shabazz Muhammad cleared to play at UCLA

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According to Los Angeles Times reporter Baxter Holmes, UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad has been cleared to play by the NCAA.

Holmes, who broke the news through his Twitter account, had previously reported that UCLA’s hearing with the NCAA regarding Muhammad’s eligibility had ended around noon on Friday.

The NCAA released a statement regarding Muhammad’s reinstatement:

The NCAA and UCLA have resolved the eligibility case of Shabazz Muhammad. UCLA acknowledged amateurism violations occurred and asked the NCAA on Friday afternoon to reinstate Muhammad. The university required the student-athlete to miss 10 percent of the season (three games) and repay approximately $1,600 in impermissible benefits.

The 6-foot-6 Muhammad has already missed UCLA’s three games and will be allowed to play immediately, which will be Nov. 19 against Georgetown.

Last Friday, Muhammad was ruled ineligible for amateurism rules violation. The NCAA had accused Muhammad of accepting travel and lodging during three unofficial visits to two schools.

According to the facts of the case, which were agreed upon by the university and the NCAA staff, Muhammad accepted travel and lodging during unofficial visits to member schools. NCAA rules, which member schools create, state that student-athletes cannot receive benefits based on their athletic ability. NCAA amateurism rules are in place so that when student-athletes step onto the court, they are competing against other student-athletes who have met the same standards.

UCLA is currently 3-0, but adding Muhammad is clearly Ben Howland’s biggest win of the season. Muhammad, one of the nation’s top recruits, was part of UCLA’s top-ranked recruiting class, alongside point forward Kyle Anderson.

The Bruins now add another scorer, although fellow freshman Jordan Adams, has been impressive so far, averaging 24 points per game. Muhammad is an explosive scorer with a great motor. He has the ability to force his way into the lane and finish above the rim.

Muhammad should make his debut against Georgetown on Monday. The game will take place in Brooklyn.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne