Memphis Attorney in Middle of UCLA Freshman Shabazz Muhammad NCAA Saga
If you are a college basketball fan, it is hard to not know about what has been going on with UCLA Bruins freshman Shabazz Muhammad.
Muhammad, the No. 2 overall recruit in the 2012 ESPN 100, had been declared ineligible for competition after a lengthy NCAA investigation determined he had committed a violation of the NCAA’s amateurism rules.
Due to the investigation, he was not only prohibited from going on UCLA’s three-game exhibition trip to China during the summer, but he could not even participate in practices leading up to the trip.
After many twists and turns surrounding the investigation, Muhammad was able to begin his college basketball career on Monday against the Georgetown Hoyas in the Legends Classic in New York.
“UCLA acknowledged amateurism violations occurred and asked the NCAA on Friday afternoon to reinstate Muhammad,” the NCAA said in a statement. “The university required the student-athlete to miss 10 percent of the season (three games) and repay approximately $1,600 in impermissible benefits.”
A turning point in the Muhammad–NCAA saga seemed to have come after a report of a conversation pertaining to Muhammad that a Memphis, TN., attorney claimed to hear on an Aug. 7 commuter flight.
The attorney, Florence Johnson Raines, said she heard a man loudly state that he was dating an NCAA attorney. This man went on to say that his girlfriend informed him that Muhammad would never play college basketball this season because he broke NCAA rules.
The girlfriend, identified as “Abigail,” was investigating Muhammad. Abigail Grantstein, an assistant director of enforcement, is the NCAA’s lead investigator on the Muhammad case.
Raines emailed a letter to Dennis Thomas, then a member of the NCAA infractions committee, saying she was concerned that what should have been a confidential matter was being discussed in such a way.
“I was relieved by what the NCAA did on Friday,” said Raines to the Los Angeles Times, who practices labor and employment law at Johnson and Brown, P.C., in Memphis. “I felt they understood that they had an issue.”
Patosha Jeffery is the Memphis Tigers Featured Columnist at Rant Sports. Be sure to follow her on Twitter: @patoshajeffery and add her Google + to your circles for all of her latest articles and thoughts.
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