Mohamed Bamba’s eligibility is no longer in jeopardy after the NCAA released a statement on Tuesday clearing the Texas freshman and deeming his relationship with mentor Greer Love as falling within NCAA rules.
Two weeks ago, Bamba’s half-brother, Ibrahim Johnson, took to FaceBook Live to levy accusations at Bamba that he has been accepting money from Love and that he will not be eligible to play college basketball this season. Subsequent reporting from NBC Sports revealed that Bamba and Love had a relationship dating back to a time when Love coached Bamba as a fourth-grader, and that the NCAA was not only aware of Love, but that they had already cleared Bamba.
In Tuesday’s statement, the NCAA determined that the money provided by Love “does not violate rules” and that Bamba “remains certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center.”
Here is the full explanation from the NCAA, as provided by a Texas spokesman:
Based on the information provided, the relationship between the [student-athlete] SA and Mr. Love meets the 6/6/2000 pre-existing relationship test. In this case, the relationship between the SA and Mr. Love developed when the SA was in 4th grade through an after school mentoring program. Although the mentoring program had both an academic and athletics purpose, their relationship was not established based on the SA’s ability or reputation as an athlete. Further, the pattern of communication between the SA and Mr. Love has been continuous and the benefits provided to the SA have been consistent since the establishment of their relationship. In addition, Mr. Love has a consistent, established pattern of providing comparable benefits to other individuals (and family of individuals) who were also a part of the mentoring program and most of which are pursuing nonathletic career paths/opportunities. Therefore, based on the information provided, the benefits provided to the SA by Mr. Love are not in violation of NCAA amateurism rules. Further, any future benefits provided to the SA by Mr. Love are permissible provided the pattern of such benefits remain consistent. Finally, there is no evidence in the facts provided that Mr. Love meets the definition of an agent for purposes of NCAA rules.
Bamba, a 7-foot-1 center with a 7-foot-9 wingspan that is, on paper, the difference-maker for this Longhorns team, is a potential top five pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.