Memphis basketball, Penny Hardaway pay price for challenging NCAA in James Wiseman case | Giannotto
After the announcement of James Wiseman's 12-game suspension, it seems Memphis badly misplayed its hand and made a terrible mistake defying the NCAA.James Wiseman wanted to sue the NCAA? Here’s a 12-game suspension that could potentially derail Memphis’ NCAA Tournament hopes.
There was risk and reward to be had in hiring Penny Hardaway as the Memphis men’s basketball coach.
The rewards have been plentiful thus far. A No. 1 recruiting class. A full FedExForum. A national championship contender. A return to relevancy, both locally and across the college basketball world.
The risk arrived Friday night, in the hours leading up to. The risk was how this all happened.
It’s a question that lingered beneath the surface throughout the past 12 months, oncecommitted to Memphis. It’s a question Memphis basketball fans were happy to overlook and, judging by the notable cheers he received every time his name was announced Friday, they still might be.
Memphis star freshman James Wiseman suspended 12 games, cleared to play in January
Memphis star freshman James Wiseman suspended 12 games, cleared to play in JanuaryWiseman, a 7-foot center, is the potential No. 1 pick in next year’s NBA draft.
But it’s a question that now threatens to jeopardize what we all assumed would be a magical season. It’s a question that could make Wiseman’s college basketball career even shorter than we assumed. It’s a question that the NCAA thinks it has answered, and it doesn’t appear willing to back down.
This much is clear after the soap opera that played out over several hours in downtown Memphis.
First, prominent Memphis attorney Leslie Ballin conducted a news conference inside his 12th floor offices and announced thatearlier this week and that he had filed a lawsuit on Wiseman's behalf with the NCAA and the University of Memphis as defendants. A few minutes after that, a Shelby County Judicial Court judge granted Wiseman that allowed Wiseman to play Friday.
Memphis star Wiseman will play vs. Oregon
Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway confirmed star freshman James Wiseman will be in the lineup for Tuesday's showdown against No. 14 Oregon, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports.
About 10 minutes after that, at 5:17 p.m., Wiseman emerged from a black Sprinter van in the garage underneath FedExForum, and ran inside the building. Just after 6 p.m., he was announced as a member of the starting lineup. By the second half, the NCAA responded.
“The University of Memphis was notified that James Wiseman is likely ineligible,” the organization said in a statement. “The university chose to play him and ultimately is responsible for ensuring its student-athletes are eligible to play.”
That sound you’re hearing is the NCAA’s heels digging in.
It means Memphis took a huge risk playing Wiseman Friday night and, frankly, during Tuesday’s season opener. Because according to Blake Ballin, a member of Wiseman’s legal team, the NCAA sent a letter notifying Memphis Wiseman was ineligible “minutes or hours before tipoff.” Tuesday night.
These first two wins could very well become forfeits.
Memphis declares James Wiseman ineligible while it works toward resolution with NCAA
James Wiseman withdrew his lawsuit against the NCAA, indicating a settlement could be in the works. Wiseman and his legal team filed a notice of voluntary nonsuit Thursday in a show of good faith toward the NCAA just days before a hearing in Shelby County Chancery court was scheduled for Monday.The firms representing Wiseman — Ballin, Ballin and Fishman, as well as Farese, Farese and Farese — issued a statement: "It has become clear to Mr.
"We'll get through this," Memphis athletic director Laird Veatch said as he walked along press row Friday night.
Hardaway addressed the issue on ESPN in an interview after the game.
“That's just up to the school," he said. "We're just going to go about it legally moving forward. James has a right to do what he did and we're moving forward."
We'll see. The drama seems to just be getting started.
NCAA rules stipulate that a booster can’t give a prospective student-athlete money. And that’s what the NCAA is alleging happenedwhen Wiseman relocated from Nashville to Memphis in the summer of 2017.
The NCAA considers Hardawaybecause he donated $1 million to the school in 2008. According to the NCAA, that makes Hardaway a booster in perpetuity.
Whether you think that’s fair, whether you think college athletes should be able to get money for their name, image or likeness, or whether you think the NCAA is a corrupt organization making millions off unpaid labor, it’s going to be hard for Memphis and Wiseman to get around this.
James Wiseman eligibility: Explaining the NCAA questions on Penny Hardaway, Memphis star
Everything you need to know about James Wiseman's eligibility case at Memphis and what it means for him, the Tigers' basketball team and the NCAA going forward.Before he could even take the court for the Tigers, though, he became tangled in an eligibility case that could have lasting repercussions for the NCAA or Memphis, or both.
Prospective student-athletes and their families aren’t allowed to accept $11,500. Hardaway was allowed to give it to him because he wasn’t yet employed by the University of Memphis. But Wiseman, according to NCAA bylaws, was technically ineligible the moment his mother accepted those moving expenses since the NCAA considers Hardaway a booster.
Wiseman appears to be following the same playbook he used when theinitially ruled him ineligible to play at Memphis East High School. Wiseman had transferred to East, where Hardaway was the coach, from Nashville’s Ensworth School.
In that instance, a lawsuit was also filed in a Shelby County Court and a similar temporary injunction was issued. The case was never actually resolved before Wiseman graduated, and he played two seasons at East, which included a state championship in Hardaway’s final season.
Wiseman and his family have long claimed his move to Memphis was to be closer to his sister, who is currently a student at the University of Memphis. The TSSAA alleged it was to play for Hardaway, who had become his grassroots basketball coach in the summer of 2017.
Perhaps, as Wiseman’s attorneys argued Friday, there’s a way to prove Hardaway shouldn’t have been considered a booster. Perhaps, as they disclosed in the lawsuit Friday, the fact that Hardaway and Wiseman allegedly disclosed the $11,500 in moving expenses to the NCAA during its initial eligibility ruling in May will convince a judge to rule in Wiseman’s favor.
Report: NCAA declares potential No. 1 overall pick Wiseman ineligible in shock ruling
James Wiseman is 7-1 behemoth and a definite lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.It's been a banner day for the NCAA, which this morning influenced Ohio State to hold out star edge rusher Chase Young for taking a loan from a family friend. In their latest actual ruling, they've declared Wiseman ineligible, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Much like Hardaway’s hiring, this is a wholly unique situation. NBA superstars don’t often become high school and grassroots basketball coaches. High school and grassroots basketball coaches don’t often ascend immediately to a head coaching job.
But it was a risk then, and it’s definitely become a risk now.
Now, the most important moment of this Memphis basketball season won’t happen on the court. It’ll happen in a courthouse.
You can reach Commercial Appeal columnist Mark Giannotto via email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter:
This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal:
Related slideshow: Best of the college basketball season (provided by imagn)
James Wiseman didn't play, but he loomed large in Memphis basketball win over Alcorn State | Giannotto .
The James Wiseman-less Memphis Tigers blew out Alcorn State Saturday, but his absence on the court loomed over everythingSeated in one of the courtside seats lining the sideline at FedExForum Saturday afternoon watching his teammates warm up without him, young fans asked for photos and adults offered encouraging words. Then one man walked up wearing a Tiger blue “Free Wiseman” T-shirt.