NCAA reinstates UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad has been finally ruled eligible to play after the university and the NCAA announced a settlement of the super recruit's case on Friday.
The NCAA imposed a three-game suspension on Muhammad after it was determined the heralded prospect received nearly $1,600 in impermissible benefits during the recruiting process.
With the Bruins having played three times with Muhammad sitting out, the 19- year-old will be eligible to play when the 13th-ranked Bruins take on Georgetown in Brooklyn, NY in Monday's Progressive Legends Classic.
"I am relieved that this long, arduous process has come to an end," said Bruins head coach Ben Howland. "So many people worked very hard on this case and I am eternally grateful to them as well as the Bruin family, who stood by us throughout. I am pleased that Shabazz will be able to begin his collegiate career."
In a statement released Friday, the NCAA ruled that "Muhammad accepted travel and lodging during unofficial visits to member schools. NCAA rules, which member schools create, state that student-athletes cannot receive benefits based on their athletic ability."
The NCAA also accepted UCLA's imposed penalty of a three-game suspension, which constitutes 10 percent of the regular season, and having Muhammad repay the monies given to him.
"The NCAA agreed the actions taken by the university were sufficient," the statement read. "Because Muhammad has already sat out three games, he is now eligible to compete."
Muhammad, a Las Vegas native, had been considered the nation's No. 1 incoming freshman by several recruiting analysts.