Memphis' Wiseman has restraining order allowing him to play while he fights NCAA ruling he's ineligible.
Memphis freshman James Wiseman has restraining order allowing him to play while he fights NCAA ruling he's ineligible.MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Memphis center James Wiseman has a temporary restraining order to play while the heralded freshman fights an NCAA ruling that he's ineligible to play for coach Penny Hardaway and the Tigers.
You wanted a war with the NCAA? Well after a momentary detente, the war is here.
wanted to sue the NCAA? Here’s a 12-game suspension that could potentially derail Memphis’ NCAA Tournament hopes.
wanted to play Wiseman even though the NCAA declared him “likely ineligible?” Here’s a potential major infractions case that could derail the entire men’s basketball program.
The NCAA wanted to squash this Memphis rebellion? Here’s an appeal from the university expecting a “more fair and equitable resolution” that could shorten Wiseman’s absence. That could convince this notoriously unjust organization to be “more fair and equitable.”
Memphis basketball, Penny Hardaway are taking a big risk with James Wiseman | Giannotto
There was risk and reward to be had when it came to hiring Penny Hardaway as Memphis men's basketball coach. The risk arrived Friday night.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.
Or this reaction, combined with Penny Hardaway'sover the past week, could just antagonize the NCAA even more. As was reinforced Wednesday, those folks in Indianapolis aren’t afraid to strike back with a vengeance.
For now, it appears Memphis badly misplayed its hand.
A major miscalculation
Memphis made a terrible mistake by playing Wiseman those first three games after the NCAA officially sent notice of Wiseman’s ineligibility before the Tigers’ season opener against South Carolina State. Particularly if thethat “a major infractions case targeting Memphis is now likely” comes true because of its insubordination.
A year ago Wednesday, Wiseman sat at a table inside the East High School auditorium, pulled out a unicorn dressed in Memphis Tigers garb and announced his commitment to play college basketball at Memphis.
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He was surrounded by friends and family on stage and Memphis fans and boosters out in the crowd who yelled and shrieked with delight at the news. They knew what this meant. They knew the promise and hope of having Hardaway as the Memphis basketball coach now had a tangible symbol.
Exactly one year later, the NCAA showed just how powerful a symbol it remains, even in the wake of constant criticism over its antiquated policies.
Not only is Memphis' much-anticipated season in jeopardy, the immediate future of the program, and Hardaway’s tenure as head coach, could suddenly be on the line.
Assigning the blame
So whose fault is this?
The one victim seems to be Wiseman. He, according to a statement from the university, had no knowledge of the $11,500 payment made by Hardaway to his mother for moving expenses in the summer of 2017.
He has been an innocent bystander as the outdated organization that oversees college sports, some of the adults he entrusted his career with and the school he chose to go to, all failed him.
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Yes, failed him.
Let’s start with the NCAA and the vindictive punishment announced Wednesday.
Thus far, Wiseman is the only one feeling the brunt of it. He didn’t just get suspended for the nine games — or about 30 percent of the regular season — that are standard for this amount of money, according to the NCAA penalty matrix. The NCAA tacked on the three games Memphis allowed Wiseman to play at the beginning of the season.
Why should he bear the weight of his university’s ignorance? Why isn’t the school vacating those wins he appeared in? Why isn’t Hardaway suspended for being the person affiliated with the university who initially violated NCAA rules?
What about Penny's role?
Hardaway, of course, isn’t immune from blame here. Let’s put aside for now that the NCAA rule he violated — that he was a Memphis booster when he provided that money to Wiseman’s mother — isn’t being applied with common sense here because Hardaway wasn’t acting on behalf of Memphis in the summer of 2017.
When has the NCAA ever operated with common sense? Hardaway should have understood that. He should have had a better understanding of the rules. Even back then when he was coaching at East, he should have been far more careful just handing out money to a family member of a five-star prospect.
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.
As someone who spent that summer following around Hardaway’s Team Penny program for a series of stories, you can’t convince me Hardaway did not already harbor dreams of becoming a college head coach; and you can’t convince me he gave Wiseman’s mother that money simply out of the goodness of his heart.
And then the way he’s so openly discussed this case in recent days, essentially saying publicly he doesn’t agree with his own bosses at the university that a rule was violated, just seems foolish, in retrospect. Even Tuesday night, during an interview on CBS Sports Network, he called the NCAA’s decision “baffling.”
It’s only baffling if you haven’t read the NCAA rule book, or read up on how callous the NCAA can be when it wants to be.
Hardaway’s bravado has been celebrated around the city since he got hired at Memphis and, in many cases, justifiably so. But in recent days, from Rick Barnes’ statement that he doesn’t think the Memphis-Tennessee series will continue after next season to this latest development in the Wiseman case, everyone should also now know that the bluster comes with a cost.
Where was the oversight?
Which brings us to the university, because it could have saved Hardaway from himself here.
Though the school and Hardaway insist they’ve been transparent about this $11,500 throughout the NCAA eligibility process, this sort of payment needed to be vetted the moment Hardaway was hired. Hardaway needed to disclose this immediately because, no matter how funky the NCAA’s application of its rule book is in this case, giving $11,500 to the mother of the top recruit in the country can’t just be overlooked until after the recruiting process is complete.
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This needed to be run through the school’s compliance department to determine if Hardaway should even be allowed to recruit Wiseman.
It seems none of that happened. Memphis was too excited about the possibilities under Hardaway, too excited about the possibility of snagging the No. 1 recruit in the country and too excited about putting butts back in the seats at FedExForum.
And let’s be clear: It should have been.
But it also should have been more careful, back then and over the past two weeks. So a year after Memphis celebrated the arrival of a unicorn, it’s going back to war over him.
The early returns suggest Memphis isn’t going to win.
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This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal:
NCAA denies Memphis’ appeal of Wiseman suspension .
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Memphis center James Wiseman won’t get any reduction in his 12-game suspension. The NCAA has denied Memphis’ appeal of the penalty Wiseman received last week. The heralded freshman won’t be able to play again for the 16th-ranked Tigers until Jan. 12 at South Florida. Memphis issued a statement Wednesday saying that “although (this is) disappointing, we look forward to a promising season.” The penalty surrounds the $11,500 that Memphis coach Penny Hardaway gave Wiseman’s family for moving expenses from Nashville to Memphis in the summer of 2017.