From the NCAA statement:
The NCAA and UCLA have resolved the eligibility case of Shabazz Muhammad. UCLA acknowledged amateurism violations occurred and asked the NCAA on Friday afternoon to reinstate Muhammad. The university required the student-athlete to miss 10 percent of the season (three games) and repay approximately $1,600 in impermissible benefits. The NCAA agreed the actions taken by the university were sufficient. Because Muhammad has already sat out three games, he is now eligible to compete.
Does it feel like the NCAA is trying to save face by agreeing to an already-served suspension? Maybe.
Either way, the nation’s top recruit will finally make his collegiate debut Monday night against Georgetown. The bright lights of the Barclays Center seems a fitting place for him to emerge from months and months of investigation.
The whole dispute, as a recap, came down to whether or not his trips to North Carolina and Duke — paid for by family friend and financial adviser Benjamin Lincoln — qualified as contributions from someone with a pre-existing relationships. The NCAA then declared Muhammad ineligible hours before UCLA’s season opener against Indiana State last Friday, sparking a “Free Shabazz” T-shirt movement that even RHCP bassist Flea participated in.
Now, it’s all over and the No. 13 Bruins (3-0) can finally focus on their on-court product. The team has some issues Muhammad alone can’t solve, but it now has a scoring tandem of him and Jordan Adams — the first freshman to begin his UCLA career with three straight 20-point games.
Muhammad tweeted an appropriately minimalist response shortly after the announcement:
— shabazz muhammad (@phenom15balla) November 17, 2012
Statement from AD Dan Guerrero: “We are extremely grateful that this matter has come to a conclusion. I want to recognize that a lot of long hours and tireless effort were put into this process by staff members from UCLA and the NCAA, as well as by Shabazz Muhammad’s family. This entire process has been challenging on many fronts, but we believe strongly in the principles of fairness, integrity and due process. We are satisfied with the outcome and pleased that Shabazz will be able to join his teammates on the floor, representing UCLA in Brooklyn on Monday night.”
Statement from coach Ben Howland: “I am relieved that this long, arduous process has come to an end. So many people worked very hard on this case and I am eternally grateful to them as well as the Bruin family, who stood by us throughout. I am pleased that Shabazz will be able to begin his collegiate career.”
Statement from Muhammad: “I am excited to be able to play for UCLA starting next Monday. My family and friends were very supportive of me throughout this process and I couldn’t have gone through this without them.”