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Lawyer: NCAA rules Memphis star James Wiseman ineligible however judge clears path for him to play


James Wiseman, the top prospect in Memphis basketball’s ballyhooed No. 1 recruiting class, was ruled ineligible by the NCAA earlier this week, his Memphis-based attorney, Leslie Ballin announced Friday evening.

However, in a saga that played out just before the Tigers’ Friday night game against Illinois-Chicago, Ballin said Wiseman was granted an immediate temporary restraining order by a Shelby County Judicial Court judge that put the NCAA’s ineligibility decision on hold pending further litigation.

Wiseman then arrived at FedExForum at 5:17 p.m., less than 45 minutes before Memphis was scheduled to tip off its second game of the season and was in the starting lineup.

The NCAA responded to the court’s injunction, issuing the following statement: “The University of Memphis was notified that James Wiseman is likely ineligible. The university chose to play him and ultimately is responsible for ensuring its student-athletes are eligible to play.”

According to Blake Ballin, another member of Wiseman’s legal team, the NCAA sent a letter deeming Wiseman ineligible right before the Tigers’ season opener against South Carolina State on Tuesday. Wiseman played on Tuesday night.

James Wiseman Memphis Tigers basketball Penny Hardaway

At issue, Blake Ballin stated, is mentor Penny Hardaway’s status as a college promoter and a large number of dollars the NCAA claims Hardaway provided for Wiseman’s mom, Donzaleigh Artis, for moving costs when Wiseman migrated from Nashville to Memphis in the late spring of 2017.

As indicated by an announcement discharged by the University of Memphis Friday night, Hardaway “gave $11,500 in moving costs to help the Wiseman family in their migration to Memphis, unbeknownst to James.”

Related to that move, Wiseman went from playing at Nashville’s Ensworth School to Memphis East High School, which was trained by Hardaway at the time. Wiseman and his family have kept up that they moved to Memphis so as to be nearer to the player’s sister, who as of now goes to the University of Memphis.


Due to a $1 million donation made by Hardaway in 2008 to help fund the university’s Penny Hardaway Hall of Fame, NCAA bylaws consider Hardaway a booster in perpetuity.

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Wiseman documented a claim Friday against both the NCAA and the University of Memphis so as to reestablish his qualification.

As per the claim, between Jan. 25 and May 17, the NCAA and the University of Memphis directed a joint audit of Wiseman’s qualification and he got NCAA affirmation “approximately May 29.”

The claim additionally expresses that “all data in regards to Mr. Hardaway’s money related help to Ms. Artis and different purposes of request were imparted to the NCAA before accreditation of Mr. Wiseman’s qualification.”

On Oct. 31, however, the University of Memphis received a bylaws interpretation from the NCAA alleging that “certain recruiting violations had taken place in order around the summer of 2017,” according to the lawsuit.

Memphis ball: Penny Hardaway as the years progressed

“Our position is the NCAA sent a letter in May showing that James was qualified to play and James depended on that and went to the University of Memphis to play,” Blake Ballin said in a meeting. “I’m certain he had different alternatives, yet dependent on that he acted and now they are attempting to surprise him.”

As indicated by the claim, no one at the University of Memphis had contemporaneous information on the budgetary help gave by Hardaway to Wiseman’s family.

“Especially given the extraordinary conditions for this situation, we are confident for a reasonable and evenhanded goals on James’ qualification,” college president M. David Rudd said in an announcement. “We bolster James’ entitlement to challenge the NCAA managing on this issue.

“The University of Memphis has elevated requirements of moral direct for all workforce, staff and understudies, and we pay attention to any claims or lead that isn’t lined up with our main goal. We will recognize and acknowledge any obligation regarding demonstrated infringement of NCAA standing rules. The University of Memphis solidly underpins James, Coach Hardaway and our men’s b-ball program in this issue.”

This story will be refreshed.

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Adejoh Albert Enemosah is a Nigerian news carrier blogger, writer, entrepreneur, and web developer. We bring you the Nigerian News, Music, and All Informative Messages On This Medium.

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