NCAA Mishandles Amateurism Situation Involving UCLA Freshman Shabazz Muhammad
Two Final Four banners unjustly collect dust somewhere in the Michigan basketball facilities. Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy isn’t technically his, even though he was leaps and bounds above every other college football player in 2005. And, after many other situations that the NCAA has poorly handled, enter UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad’s ridiculous indefinite suspension.
We’ll get into the actual suspension in a moment, but first, think about what you can do in 10 minutes. You can barely read an entire article about Billy Gillispie by Joseph Nardone, you can’t go through a warm-up routine for a basketball game, and you don’t really have time to process important information. Well, the NCAA only gave the Muhammad and the Bruins 10 minutes before game-time to process that the No. 2 Overall recruit in the 2012 ESPN 100 would not be able to participate in the game he had already suited and warmed up for.
After completing a lengthy investigation of Muhammad’s alleged violation of amateurism rules, the NCAA ruled that the freshman accepted travel and lodging during three unofficial visits to two NCAA-member schools. Now, Muhammad, who isn’t technically suspended, has been ruled ineligible for the time being and will have to wait and see if UCLA chooses to appeal the decision.
The suspicious visits were taken to Duke and North Carolina and were allegedly paid for by a family friend. The friend is said to be a financial advisor and is the brother of an assistant coach of Muhammad’s high school team in Las Vegas.
Now, is Muhammad play his home-games in front of the Cameron Crazies? Is he wearing a powder blue jersey with an argyle design on the sides? N-O, NO!
Even if Muhammad did “break” the amateurism rules, they still had absolutely no effect on his decision. He still chose UCLA, he still didn’t play in the state of North Carolina. Why is the NCAA still concerned about this? What’s happening right now is basically as if you were offered to cheat on a math test, given the answers, but didn’t use them and now you’re being punished for possessing the answers at one point in time. It’s ridiculous. Thus far in his collegiate career, Muhammad has attended class and been a full-functioning member of the UCLA campus community. The NCAA amateurism rules are in place to keep student-athletes level-headed, and force them to understand that they are still students first. Muhammad has done that, so why still lurk in his past? He didn’t break the law.
Last night, during the Bruins season opener against Indiana State, UCLA fans wore “Free Shabazz” shirts. I want one of them for myself.
Jake Fischer is the CAA Correspondent for Rant Sports-NCAA Basketball. Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter @fischsportsline.
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