Q: Larry Scott has been very active since becoming commissioner, expanding the conference from ten to twelve, creating the Pac-12 Networks, and bringing a tremendous amount of new revenue to each member school. Any idea that the next big thing from Scott will be?
A: Most pressing is getting a DirecTV deal nailed down, but that’s not exactly a “big thing” so much as a necessary one. Scott has said consistently over the past few months that the conference isn’t looking to expand, so the Pac-12 probably won’t be leading the country into an era of 16-team superconferences. What he might look to do next is push for some significant reform in the NCAA, especially as the institution’s enforcement policies look more and more like a joke. Scott has been candid about the need for change in the past, something he reaffirmed again on Saturday.
Q: What is the latest news on RB Craig Lee commitment status? Also, we heard of the great recruiting class UCLA had this year but did not hear of any high school seniors that flipped their commitment. Were there any? Continue reading
Today’s the day. Shabazz Muhammad’s appeal will be heard by the NCAA, bringing at a months-long ordeal at least one step closer to conclusion. Barring unexpected delays, a result should be determined to either make him eligible immediately, or force him to go through a reinstatement process. Ben Howland said after the Bruins’ Thursday night win that he was “praying and hopeful,” which is probably what everyone else in the program is feeling as well. The big development in past days was the L.A. Times’ report that an attorney overheard someone on a flight say that his girlfriend — who appears to be Abigail Granstein, the lead investigator in the Muhammad case — That the account is about three levels of hearsay doesn’t particularly matter, given that the NCAA doesn’t operate by the U.S. judicial system.
We’ll find out today whether that late flurry of negative PR nudges the NCAA to back off Muhammad or stand by its findings. At this point in, neither result would be surprising in what has become a circus of an investigation.
UCLA has filed an appeal on the NCAA’s ruling of Shabazz Muhammad’s ineligibility. The NCAA appeals committee will hear the case on Friday, and the school hopes to hear a decision then as well. The star recruit was declared ineligible just hours before the Bruins’ season opener against Indiana State last Friday.
His eligibility hinges on whether his unofficial visits to Duke and North Carolina, funded by financial advisor Benjamin Lincoln, qualifies as coming from someone with a pre-existing family relationship. Lincoln’s brother is an assistant coach for Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, Muhammad’s high school.
“I’m concerned about Shabazz,” said head coach Ben Howland. “I’m just optimistic and hopeful that everything will work out. … Hopeful is a big part of it too.”
Howland emphasized again that his players will not be wearing “Free Shabazz” T-shirts in the future. Freshmen Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams and Tony Parker warmed up in the shirts before UCLA’s win over UC Irvine on Tuesday night.
“We won’t be wearing our shirts tomorrow,” he said. “This is their friend, but that’s not something we’ll do in the future.”
More to come, but here’s the statement from the school and AD Dan Guerrero:
The NCAA has finally determined that a violation of the NCAA amateurism rules has occurred involving UCLA freshman guard Shabazz Muhammad and his family. As a result, he is ineligible for competition at this time. We are extremely disappointed that the NCAA has made this determination.
The University and our compliance staff have fully cooperated with the NCAA throughout this entire period, and we believe the decision is incorrect and unjust to Shabazz. UCLA will expeditiously pursue its options to challenge this determination. When a final resolution has been reached by the NCAA, we will swiftly communicate the news to the entire Bruin family.
Kyle Anderson, one of the two gems in UCLA’s freshman class, has been cleared to play by the NCAA. He had been under investigation for a relationship between his father and NBA agent Thad Foucher.
From teammate and fellow freshman Jordan Adams:
Statement from athletic director Dan Guerrero: “UCLA was informed by the NCAA earlier today that freshman guard Kyle Anderson is eligible to play this season, and that the NCAA has found no evidence to substantiate claims of violations in his case. I am grateful to all those who were involved in the process. We are looking forward to opening our season on November 9 against Indiana State at New Pauley Pavilion.”
No movement yet on the eligibility of Shabazz Muhammad, who of course would miss the season opener regardless with a shoulder strain.