Eligibility issues haunt three top recruits
By Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY
With students returning to campus and classes beginning, college basketball coaches should have a pretty good idea of their rosters —should being the operative word.
Instead, three possibly top-10 caliber teams face uncertainty. The NCAA is still in the process of looking into the eligibility of three top recruits: UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad and Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel for issues surrounding their amateur status, and N.C. State’s Rodney Purvis for academic reasons.
The Bruins took their team trip to China without Muhammad because the NCAA has not cleared him to play. At issue is Muhammad’s amateurism because of his ties to two financial advisors. The NCAA is also expanding its inquiry into Noel, looking into the people involved in his recruitment and how he paid for unofficial visits, according to SI.com. Noel’s former AAU assistant coach Reggie Saladin told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday he’s “not worried whatsoever.”
Kentucky spokesman DeWayne Peevy declined to comment on Noel’s status with the NCAA: “Our normal procedure is not to answer direct NCAA questions or comment on any NCAA matters.”
Purvis, who learned earlier this month that he could not accompany his team to Spain, has been cleared to attend class, but the school said his basketball eligibility is still in question. In Purvis’ case, the NCAA has been looking at the qualifications of his high school, a private academy in Raleigh.
There are two parts to NCAA eligibility: academic eligibility and amateur status.
Each part is treated independently from one another, which is why the NCAA says it can take some time to put out rulings.
“All student athletes have to be cleared academically and amateurism-certification-wise,” said Chris Radford, NCAA associate director of public and media relations. “It is a different process, entirely different circumstances (to investigate each part). It’s kind of hard to use a blanket over all incoming initial-eligibility situations.
“It’s not one-size-fits-all. It’s the opposite of that.”
NCAA rules allow recruited athletes 21 days of “temporary certification” to participate in team activities while awaiting academic eligibility decisions, and 45 days for those awaiting amateurism eligibility decisions. With that in mind, Muhammad is expected to start working with the UCLA team … [read more here]