Memphis’ NCAA case goes to independent investigation arm

Sports

Memphis Tigers Precious Achiuwa (55), Lester Quinones (11) and Lance Thomas (15) celebrate after a win against Houston in an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)

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Memphis’ NCAA case involving the recruitment of star basketball player James Wiseman will go through the association’s new independent investigation arm.

The NCAA announced Wednesday that the school’s request to have the infraction case resolved through the Independent Accountability Resolution Process had been granted.

Memphis issued a statement saying the university had been made aware that the case had been referred to the new independent investigation arm.

“The University is committed to compliance with NCAA regulations and will continue to fully cooperate within this process, which includes withholding any further comment until the process is complete,” the statement said.

The NCAA suspended Wiseman 12 games early this season because the former five-star recruit’s family received $11,500 from former Memphis player and current Tigers coach Hardaway to assist in a move from Nashville to Memphis in the summer of 2017.

Although Hardaway wasn’t Memphis’ coach at the time, the NCAA ruled that the payment wasn’t allowed because he was a booster for the program. The former NBA All-Star gave $1 million in 2008 to his alma mater for the university’s sports hall of fame.

After the NCAA ruled that Wiseman needed to sit out 12 games and donate $11,500 to charity to regain his college eligibility, he left Memphis in December.

The IARP was created last year to handle some high-profile cases involving potentially serious infractions and is made up of investigators, advocates and decision-makers with no direct ties to NCAA member schools.

Creating a new process for dealing with some infractions cases was one of several recommendations made in 2018 by the Rice Commission on college basketball. The commission, created in response to an FBI investigation into college basketball recruiting, concluded that the NCAA’s existing investigation and enforcement structure was rife with potential and perceived conflicts of interest.

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