Shabazz Muhammad IneligiblePosted by AMurawa on November 9th, 2012
On a day of celebration for college basketball fans around the country, UCLA fans received a rude present just prior to the tip-off of their season opener. Seventy-five minutes before the Bruins were to tip-off against Indiana State, athletic director Dan Guerrero issued a statement indicating that the NCAA had declared prized recruit Shabazz Muhammad ineligible due to an amateurism violation. When or more ominously if Muhammad will be declared eligible for participation is unclear at this point. The full text of Guerrero’s statement:
“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.”
Really, when it comes right down to it, while the timing is awful, we all expected that Muhammad would miss some games. While Bruins fans hoped that Muhammad would be cleared immediately, they can take solace in the fact that at least Muhammad isn’t left hung out to dry with no ruling at this point. The NCAA has come to a preliminary determination, based on facts that we don’t know, and probably never will know, but at least the investigation is moving forward. UCLA will appeal the decision, but in the meantime, we wait to see if this ineligibility is a long-term thing, a mere blip on the radar, or somewhere in between.
In roughly 30 minutes from now, the Bruins will take the floor against the Sycamores, and we’ll get a chance to see if this ruling has a negative impact on their energy for their season opener. Given that Ben Howland and his club have been preparing for life without Muhammad, you would expect that they’ll be as ready to go as they’re going to get. But the big question without Muhammad will be their ability to defend on the perimeter. Guys like Jake Odum and Manny Arop will give the Bruins a solid test in that area in the opener, and we’ll have more from beautiful New Pauley Pavilion, once the game wraps up.