Muhammad family questions NCAA tactics
by Eric Prisbell, USA TODAY Sports
The family of UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad is accusing the NCAA of publicly making wrong conclusions and inaccurately portraying the investigation of the Bruins’ prized freshman, who is currently ineligible because of a violation of the association’s amateurism rules.
In a statement released to the Los Angeles Times, the family said it is “now faced with the situation where they are concerned that any attempt to tell more of their side of the story will result in further punitive action, as Shabazz is still under the mercy of the NCAA.”
Hours before tipoff of UCLA’s season opener Friday against Indiana State, the NCAA ruled Muhammad ineligible because, among other pending issues, Muhammad accepted travel and lodging during three unofficial visits to two schools, Duke and North Carolina.
Ben Lincoln, a North Carolina-based financial adviser,has acknowledged paying for the plane tickets and hotel room for Muhammad’svisits to Duke and North Carolina, Lincoln’s attorney, Bill Trosch, told USATODAY Sports this summer. Trosch did not immediately return a phone messageTuesday.
Lincoln’s brother, Geoff Lincoln, is an assistant coachat Bishop Gorman, Muhammad’s high school team in Las Vegas.
And Trosch told USA TODAY Sports this summer that Muhammad’s father, Ron Holmes, has said that the family filled out appropriate compliance forms stating that Lincoln, whom the family claims is a friend, paid for the trips.
In the statement to The Times, Muhammad’s family said the NCAA for more than a year has been aware of “all the relevant facts related to its ruling last Friday. Prior to the unofficial visits in question, Ron Holmes and Ben Lincoln received approval from NCAA (through its member universities) for Mr. Lincoln to pay for airline tickets and hotel rooms. In 2010, Mr. Holmes openly and honestly revealed to the NCAA the source of the payments on the NCAA’s compliance form.”
Muhammad is the gem of a highly acclaimed UCLA recruiting class assembled to help lift the Bruins program back to national relevance. After reaching three consecutive Final Fours between 2006 and 2008, UCLA has not advanced to the Sweet 16 since and has missed the NCAA tournament in two of the past four seasons. … [For more on Muhammad family questions NCAA tactics, click here.]