ineligible

Shabazz Muhammad ruled ineligible for amateurism rules violation, UCLA plans to appeal

4 Comments

UCLA freshman wing Shabazz Muhammad has been ruled ineligible for a violation of amateur rules, the school announced Friday evening.

The school gave no specific timeframe, but plans to appeal the ruling.

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

“The University and our compliance staff have fully cooperated with the NCAA throughout this entire period, and we believe the decision is incorrect and unjust to Shabazz. UCLA will expeditiously pursue its options to challenge this determination. When a final resolution has been reached by the NCAA, we will swiftly communicate the news to the entire Bruin family.”

According to a statement from the NCAA, Muhammad “accepted travel and lodging during three unofficial visits to two NCAA member schools,” causing the violation.

Possible eligibility problems for Muhammad were brought to light by a report earlier this year from CBSSports.com, a story published before Muhammad had committed to UCLA. According to the report, the NCAA had taken an interest in a possible link between the star freshman’s family and two financial advisors, Benjamin Lincoln and Ken Kavanaugh.

Muhammad is part of perhaps the best recruiting class in the country, one that was expected to change UCLA’s fortunes and possibly provide the pieces for a run at a Pac-12 title.

An explosive scorer, Muhammad will be out for the Bruins’ game against Indiana State at Pauley Pavilion Friday night and for an indeterminate amount of time as UCLA appeals the ruling.

Muhammad’s teammate, Kyle Anderson, was cleared by the NCAA late last month. Tony Parker and Jordan Adams round out coach Ben Howland’s 2012 class.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

USC guard, leading scorer Maurice Jones will miss 2012-13 season for academic reasons

Leave a comment

Southern California’s hopes for a bounce-back season were struck a significant blow Saturday, as it was announced that junior guard Maurice Jones would be missing the Trojans’ 2012-13 campaign for academic reasons, the school said in a statement.

According to the release, though, he will return for senior season in 2013-14.

“Maurice Jones has been nothing short of magnificent for us for two years,” USC coach Kevin O’Neill said in the release. “Mo has been a great guy and great player and we want him to graduate from USC. I support him 100 percent in all that he does.”

Jones led the team in minutes, points, assists, and steals this past season, averaging 13.0 points, 3.5 assists, and 1.8 steals in just over 38 minutes per game.

The Trojans struggled in 2011-12, finishing with an overall record of 6-26, including 1-17 in the Pac-12.

Things had seemed to be looking up weeks ago, as guard Jio Fontan was cleared to play following an ACL tear last season, but the news of Jones’ ineligibility will put a damper on hopes of moving up in the Pac-12 standings.

USC will be facing a much-improved conference in the upcoming 2012-13 season.

UCLA, who struggled last season, brings in a highly rated recruiting class that includes Kyle Anderson and Shabazz Muhammad, along with Jordan Adams and Tony Parker.

Arizona, though having lost an underachieving Josiah Turner to transfer, also brings in a strong recruiting class, led by center Kaleb Tarczewski, Brandon Ashley, and Grant Jerrett.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad will not travel with team to China as NCAA continues investigation

2 Comments

UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad will not make a scheduled overseas trip to China with the Bruins this month as the NCAA continues to investigate his connections to two financial planners that could impact his amateur status and eligibility at UCLA, Tracy Pierson of Scout.com is reporting.

CBSSports.com first brought to light that the NCAA was investigating Muhammad and alleged financial dealings involving financial planners Ken Kavanagh and Benjamin Lincoln in relation to Muhammad’s unofficial visits and his former AAU team, Dream Vision Foundation.

Muhammad will remain in California when the team leaves for China on Aug. 23. He also, along with fellow top recruit Kyle Anderson, is working back from an injury suffered during the off-season.

UCLA begins its three-game swing in the Far East with a game at Tsinghua University on Aug. 25. The Bruins will then take on Shanghai Jiao Tong University on Aug. 27 before finishing out their trip with a game against the Shanghai Sharks, a professional team, on Aug. 28.

Muhammad, a dynamic scorer, is part of what is possibly the best recruiting class in the country, alongside the Top-5 prospect Anderson of Jersey City, N.J., Jordan Adams of powerhouse Oak Hill Academy (Va.), and big man Tony Parker.

UCLA finished last season with an overall record of 19-14 overall this past season, including 11-7 in the Pac-12.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_